– Humans are constantly evolving. We may not notice it or even think much about it, but our bodies are changing.
This fact has made many wonder what humans will look like in the future. Scientists have come up with a number of possible scenarios, and some of our future appearances are truly grotesque, while other theories seem more plausible.
Over the last 150 years the average height of people in industrialized nations has increased approximately 10 centimeters (about four inches). In 1880 the average American male was 5’7”. Today, he’s 5’10”. Humans are becoming taller and there is reason to think this trend will continue. Evolution cannot explain our increase in height, but genetics can. Improvement in childhood nutrition has been the most important factor in allowing humans to increase so dramatically in stature.
If we set up human settlements on mars, people born on the Red Planet might be taller than anyone on Earth. This is because Mars’ gravitational pull is only 38% of Earth’s.
Dr. Alan Kwan who has a PhD in computational genomics from Washington University, proposes interesting aspects of future human evolution.
Basically, Dr Kwan believes that humans will have larger brains and eyes.“As our understanding of the universe increases, I predict that the human head will trend larger to accommodate a larger brain. But instead of some orthogonal evolutionary path that ends up with the 210th century human a la Futurama’s Morbo the anchor-alien, the rule of viable human biology will still apply and so the entire head will trend larger, though with a bias for a greater cranium growth than facial growth; the human 20,000 years from now would look to us like someone today except we would notice the forehead is subtly too large,” says Dr. Kwan.
According to Dr. Kwan human space colonization of Earth-orbit and other solar system space colonies will lead to that we have larger eyes in response to the dimmer environment of colonies further from the Sun than Earth and more pigmented skin to alleviate the damaging impact of much more harmful UV radiation outside of the Earth’s protective ozone.
Unfortunately, about 20,000 years ago our brains started getting smaller and they have been shrinking ever since. There are currently no indications this process can be stopped.
Another possible scenario is that humans will become more bird-like. According to Dr. Gareth Fraser, of Sheffield University, future humans will have beaks instead of teeth. Dr. Fraser points out that a beak would be “more robust and practical” than teeth and would not rot, chip or fall out.
Dr. Fraser, who has explored why humans grow only two sets of teeth in their lifetimes, while some other creatures grow many more, said that “it could be possible for humans to evolve to grow beaks, like pufferfish, which may be more robust and practical.”
Dr. Fraser has pinpointed the cells responsible for the growth of new teeth in other animals and believes scientists could eventually stimulate similar cells in the human mouth to create more sets of teeth.
“I guess people will be looking at whether you can make perfect teeth. But there will always be orthodontists employed because even when you have new teeth, there is going to be a need for positioning.
With our extended lives and modern diets, the limited supply of human teeth is really no longer fit for purpose.
The most shocking prediction comes from zoologist Douglas Dixon, who in his book book,
Man after Man – An Anthropology of the Future, offers a scientific speculation what humans will look like after 50-million years of evolution.
Dixon presents a number of strange human appearances. His theory is based on the use of genetic engineering and space travel. Dixon thinks that when our civilization comes to an end, a group of humans escape and begin setting up colony outposts in space. Dixon continues with exploring the possibility that humans retreat back to Earth after five million years of evolution, and what happens afterwards.
What Dixon offers is speculative biology and a creepy vision of the future.
The human species first began to evolve nearly 200,000 years ago and underwent many significant changes like behavior and appearance, during this long and dramatic period of time.
We do not know what events will happen in the future and how the future technologies may affect the way we evolve, but we have our predictions, and of course some are more based on science than others.