Babies born on Mars could diverge from Earthlings within a couple of generations

At some point, humans might settle Mars. But according to an evolutionary biologist, babies born on the Red Planet will look, function, and behave dramatically different from Earthlings — and all within a few generations.

Tech entrepreneurs and technologists like Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos love to talk about our species’ future as a multi-planetary species. And to be fair, they’re actually making important contributions to turn this vision into a reality. But while there’s a lot of focus on the technology that might take us to places such as Mars, not nearly as much thought seems to be given to what happens once we actually get there.

Any human colonists settling Mars would have to be confined to a relatively small habitat where they’d be subject to significantly higher radiation and more difficult living conditions than on Earth. In time, natural selection would amplify certain traits in the Martian population that would considerably differentiate humans born on the Red Planet from Earthlings. And according to Scott Solomon, a Rice University professor of evolutionary biology, this could happen within just a couple of generations.

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