Structural adaptation in response to habitat change
Eventually, global warming leads to the glaciers melting. The oceans rise and engulf a large amount of land. Temperatures on land raise, making the world more desert-like. Millions of people are displaced and many perish. A recessive mutant gene in a very small number of people is triggered when the flooding happens. This gene allows a those who have it to absorb oxygen through their skin, in an amphibian-like manner. Slowly those who have this gene make better lives for themselves in the ocean, than those who are suffering in the blistering heat of the land. After hundreds of years, the people of the water have adapted several different features to better navigate their new environment. Webbed hands and feet genes evolve into fins. Limbs get longer and longer until they are perfect for cutting through the water. Different bones, such as the tail bone, evolve longer and become fin-like. Speciation occurs, creating a second species of the homo genus. This new species establishes themselves in the now waterlogged ruins of the old cities.
However, this new species of people is unknown to the general population for many years until discovered by a small team of explorers sent on a research mission by the government. The scorching earth and the millions of refugees from flooded areas lead to poverty, havoc, war, destruction, and political outrage. Our team of two students researchers/explorers and their professor venture through the scorching desert to reach the waters. From there they boat through the underwater ruins, studying the disaster that to them is now ancient history. A bizarre reading on the sonar map makes intrigues one of the students and they decide to investigate...This is when they first encounter a person of the water.
Could these new people be essential in rebuilding society?