The unknown is very intriguing to humans, especially if that uncertainty directly affects us. What could possibly be more interesting than our own evolution taking into consideration the unusual time we live in? Technology, climate change, sedentary lifestyle- those are only a few of factors that significantly influence our lives and to which we have to adapt. Let’s explore the research on our ancestors and summarize the predictions that scientists have regarding the changes that might occur in our body in the next millions of years (if our race even gets to survive that long!)
First of all, it’s important to mention that all information in this article is just a mere speculation. Some people believe that we will change a whole lot in response to the changes in selective pressure and there are some who doubt that we will change at all because we don’t strictly obey the laws of natural selection anymore. However, it’s still interesting to speculate…
Despite what you might think, our brains are not actually likely to get much larger. In fact, our brains have gotten smaller over the last 20,000 years. Why is a bigger brain not an advantage? Wouldn’t it make us smarter? Well, the problem lies in child delivery. If we got larger brains, the birth canal would have to get larger as well to facilitate a natural birth. However, that would greatly decrease the ability of women to walk because they would have to have much wider hips.
Even though we probably won’t develop huge thumbs due to use of technology, we might get taller overall. It has already been observed by scientists who compared our height with the height of Hominins, for example, and noticed that we are on average 40-50 cm taller than they were. We still tend to mate with people who are taller as they generally tend to represent the “fittest” characteristics so that trend will likely continue.
It is no news that we live longer than people even 200 years ago and thanks to advancements in medicine and technology, we will probably live even longer on average. It is likely to cause other problems but that’s a completely different topic.
You might be wondering why there is no mention of some extravagant features from sci-fi movies like extraordinarily long limbs, third eye and other. Well, the truth is that we probably won’t have to adapt that much to the changing world because we have technology that can do it for us. In the past, organisms that had characteristics most adapted to the environment would survive and reproduce but now, we can just create technology that can do things that we are physically not capable of or not well-adapted to. However, as mentioned before, this is all just speculation!
Jones, Lucy. “What Will Humans Look like in a Million Years? | BBC Earth.” Www.bbcearth.com, www.bbcearth.com/news/what-will-humans-look-like-in-a-million-years.
Longrich, Nicholas R. “Future Evolution: From Looks to Brains and Personality, How Will Humans Change in the next 10,000 Years?” The Conversation, 1 Mar. 2022, theconversation.com/future-evolution-from-looks-to-brains-and-personality-how-will-humans-change-in-the-next-10-000-years-176997.
Will, Manuel, et al. “Long-Term Patterns of Body Mass and Stature Evolution within the Hominin Lineage.” Royal Society Open Science, vol. 4, no. 11, Nov. 2017, p. 171339, https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.171339.