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Evolved Humans

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A human born with an advanced genetic makeup that allows Anomalistic Abilities to manifest. Possibly a Homo Superior or the first step to becoming one. Several of these are known, with differing levels of abilities, from Charlene Andrews (Panmnesia) to Peter Petrelli (Residual Emulation). Those with one or more parent with anomalisitc abilities are highly likely to have an ability of their own. Examples of these are Micah Sanders and Claire Bennet (most known members of her biological family have abilities).

Technically the term "mutated human" would appear to be a more accurate reflection of the evolutionary status of those individuals currently demonstrating anomalistic abilities. Evolution is the process by which an entire species gradually transforms into another one by acquiring, through random mutation, consistent characteristics not possessed by its predecessor species that are more suited to survival in its environment. As anomalistic ability-gifted individuals do not yet demonstrate a consistency of characteristic, nor is it demonstrated that they are necessarily better-suited for survival and propagation, they still appear to represent the "random mutation" stage of the process.

For a random mutation to become an evolutionary characteristic, the trait must be inheritable in a consistent form, and must consistently increase the likelihood of both survival of the individual and reproduction of the individual's genes. Observed patterns of anomalistic ability-manifestation appear to violate this principle in that direct inheritance of identical abilities seems, per current observation, to be the exception rather than the rule; while Matthew Parkman possesses telepathic abilities apparently identical to his father's, Micah Sanders' technopathic talents appear to bear no relationship to either his father's phasing ability or his mother's enhanced physical strength. Moreover, evolved humans retain the capacity to breed true with "non-evolved" fellow humans, and cannot be biologically defined as a separate species. However, it does appear to be the case that evolved individuals have a propensity to be attracted to each other with greater frequency and effect than can be accounted for by mere chance, and the child of two evolved parents has a significantly greater chance of manifesting evolved abilities of his or her own.

The strongly documented correlation between the exact abilities manifested by an evolved individual and his or her personality, circumstances and interests suggests a more complex understanding of anomalous abilities and their genetic foundation. The genetic trait that endows evolved humans with their capabilities appears to be a single, universal gene complex that is identical in all carriers; what determines the exact manifestation of the abilities provided by that trait appears to be strongly connected to the development of the individual's brain and personality. This central genetic trait appears to be what "empowers" the abilities, while the individual brain constructs a neural net of associations and subconscious direction that determines the exact ability manifested. Micah Sanders, fascinated by machines and computers, manifested an ability to communicate with and control them by direct mental induction. Sarah Ellis, raised in an abusive household where she consistently felt helpless and powerless, developed the ability to enforce her will on others. Many similar examples have been documented. (The influence of inheritance in this theory has not yet been fully explored; it is unknown whether Matt Parkman's development of telepathic abilities identical to his father's was genetically predetermined, or a coincidence of personality type and context.)

This phenomenon also explains the frequency with which evolved humans develop psychosomatic "crutches" for their abilities, or become dependent upon particular mental or psychological states in order to access those abilities. The precognitive painter Isaac Mendez first manifested his ability while addicted to heroin, and came to believe that the drug was necessary to trigger his gift; Hiro Nakamura's control over his powers of time-space manipulation has a demonstrated correlation with his confidence and conviction, such that if he is sufficiently insecure or despairing he becomes incapable of using them at all. Niki Sanders was even more unfortunate in that the first manifestation of her enhanced strength coincided with the emergence of an extremely acute dissociative identity disorder, and she became psychologically incapable of using her ability except when her alter ego "Jessica" was dominant. This likewise explains the ability of Peter Petrelli and Gabriel "Sylar" Gray to absorb and reproduce the abilities of other evolved humans - they are, in essence, restructuring their own neural structures to mimic the "templates" of other anomalous abilities, though both in turn have their own psychosomatic restrictions on the use and control of that ability.

If the genetic component of all anomalous abilities is fundamentally identical in all evolved individuals, then it can be argued that the differences in actual ability are, from a genetic and evolutionary standpoint, superficial; the essential genetic definition is consistent and inheritable, and thus evolved humans do have some claim to being a genuinely new species. (In evolutionary biology terminology, the genetic "key" to abilities is a germline mutation; the actual abilities expressed are somatic mutations.) However, the ethical considerations implied by this are troubling. One very compelling reason we prefer the term "evolved human" is because the negative associations of the term "mutant", especially when applied to human beings in an age of nuclear and biogenic technology, are highly problematic. Prejudice and xenophobia are sufficiently disruptive when justified only by irrational pseudoscience and fear; if evolved humans become perceived as a wholly separate species, and fear of the harm their abilities may cause dominates over the good they may do with those abilities, it is entirely possible that we may inadvertently create a conflict that can lead only to extinction of one group or the other.

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