We must look back in time to comprehend our future evolution.
Will our posterity be cyborgs with high-tech machine implants? Will they have regenerative limbs, and cameras for eyes, as shown in science fiction movies? Could humans evolve into a biological-artificial hybrid species? Could we grow shorter or taller, slimmer or fatter, or perhaps have different facial characteristics and skin tones?
Of course, we have no idea. But to think about it, let’s go back a million years and see what people looked like then. To begin with, there were no Homo sapiens. There were possibly many distinct species of humans approximately a million years ago, including Homo heidelbergensis. They resembled both Homo erectus and modern humans but had more basic anatomy than the later Neanderthals.
Humans have had to adjust to major changes in recent history, particularly within the previous 10,000 years. Agriculture and abundant food have resulted in health issues that have been addressed through science. For example, the use of insulin to treat diabetes. Humans have grown heavier and taller in various places in terms of appearance.
Perhaps, humans could develop to be smaller so that our bodies use less energy says Thomas Mailund, associate professor of bioinformatics at Aarhus University in Denmark which would be useful in a world with a lot of people.
Humans must adjust to a new situation in which they must live with a large number of others.
There would have been just a few contacts on a daily basis when we were hunter-gatherers. We could adapt in ways that assist us to deal with this, according to Mailund. For example, remembering people’s names may become a far more valuable ability.
This is when technology comes into play. “A brain implant would allow us to recall people’s names,” Thomas says. “We know which genes are involved in the development of a brain capable of remembering names of people. It’s possible that we’ll make a modification. It has a science-fiction feel to it. But it is something we can do immediately. We can implant it, but we have no idea how to connect it to make it work. We’re halfway there, but it’s still a work in progress.”
“It’s no longer a biological question; it’s a technical one,” he explained.
People now have implants to repair injured bodily parts, such as a pacemaker or a hip implant. Perhaps in the future implants may be used to improve a person’s quality of life. We could have more obvious elements of technology as an aspect of our look, such as an artificial eye with a camera that can interpret multiple frequencies of color and images, in addition to brain implants.
Designer babies are something we’ve all heard of. Scientists already have the technology to alter an embryo’s DNA, however, it is contentious and no one knows what will happen next. However, in the future it may be considered immoral not to alter some genes, Mailund believes. With that may come the ability to choose a baby’s looks, so people may appear how their parents want them to.
“Selection will still occur, but it will now be artificial. “We’ll do the same thing with humans as we do with canine breeds,” Mailun added.
Although this is purely hypothetical, can demographic patterns provide any insight into how we could appear in the future?
Dr. Jason A. Hodgson, Lecturer, Grand Challenges in Ecosystems and the Environment, says, “Predicting out a million years is pure speculation, but predicting into the more near future is totally possible using bioinformatics by integrating what is known about genetic variation now with models of demographic change heading forward.”
Now that we have genetic samples of whole genomes from people all around the world, geneticists are learning more about genetic diversity and how it is organized in a human population. We can’t anticipate how genetic variation will evolve in the future, but bioinformatics experts are searching demographic patterns for clues.
Hodgson thinks that people would grow increasingly separated between urban and rural areas.
“All of the movement occurs from rural to urban regions, resulting in an increase in genetic variation in cities and a reduction in rural areas,” he explained. “You could find difference along lines where individuals live,”
Rural regions in the United Kingdom, for instance, are less varied and have more ancestry that has been in the country for a longer length of time than metropolitan areas, which have a greater number of migrants.
Some groups reproduce at a faster or slower rate than others. Because African populations are quickly growing, such genes are becoming more prevalent in the world population. Light-skinned individuals reproduce at a slow rate. As a result, according to Hodgson, skin color will get darker on a worldwide scale.
“Dark skin color is probably likely growing in common on a worldwide basis in comparison to light skin color,” he added. “I believe that in many generations, the typical individual will have a darker complexion than they have now.”
What about the space? What might we look like if humanity colonized Mars?
Our body muscles may alter structure as a result of reduced gravity. We could have lengthier arms and legs. Could humans grow even chubbier, with insulating body hair, like our Neanderthal forebears, in a colder, Ice-Age-type climate?
We don’t know, but human genetic diversity is unquestionably rising. Every year, two new mutations are discovered for every 3.5 billion base pairs in the human genome, according to Hodgson. That’s really incredible because it means we’re unlikely to look the same after a million years.
What are your opinions on this? Let us know.