Have you ever wondered what humans will look like and be able to do in the coming ages? If you’re like most people, you probably have. Humans have been around for hundreds of millions of years, and during that time our species has undergone some pretty significant evolution. In just the last 30 million years, the human race has evolved from primates, apes, and Homo sapiens, so it’s only natural to wonder what could be in store for humanity’s future evolution stages.
Speculation for human evolution has long been all over the place, largely because we are only able to guess what is next for us as a species. Thankfully, science has come far enough to allow us to speculate with a somewhat increased amount of certainty. This article will discuss what we can expect from future human evolution, as well as what defines evolution and if humans have a need to continue evolving.
What is Human Evolution?
Evolution is defined as the gradual change in the characteristics of a species over the course of generations. The human species has undergone enough changes over the course of time to claim the status of having been through several of its own stages of evolution.
Throughout these changes, our species has become taller, more dexterous, and less hairy, to name a few of our modernized traits. Today’s humans are also able to walk upright with a maintained center of gravity, unlike most of our ancestors.
There have also been variations in the study of human evolution over the last few centuries. Before Charles Darwin came along in the mid-19th century to revolutionize how people viewed evolution, the common knowledge of evolution was based on the 18th century findings of Swedish Physician and Botanist Carl Linneaus, who theorized that great apes were humanity’s closest relative and officially classified the human race under the biological genus of Homo, which is Latin for “human”.
Once Darwin appeared on the evolution scene with the 1859 publication “On the Origin of Species,” the theories of natural selection and that humans evolved from apes and primates was solidified.
Once society accepted this theory, other scientists came forward to argue for variations in Darwin’s theory. However, the 19th century also welcomed the discovery of fossilized Neanderthal remains, which kicked off a gradual chain of more fossil discoveries throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.
These fossil remains have led us to even more clues about humanity’s ancestors and given scientists more insight as to what might happen during the human race’s next stage of evolution.
Is There a Need for Human Evolution?
With the world around us changing constantly, humans need to continue adapting more than ever. Scientists don’t know for sure if the earth will continue to sustain human life in the same way it does now, so it would be in humanity’s best interest to continue evolving to adapt to whatever changes the earth may have in store.
If the planet’s climate changes drastically before humans have undergone any evolutionary change, chances are the species as a whole will be in jeopardy, but experts say the earth’s climate shows no signs of changing faster than the human race.
Regardless of the earth’s climate status, the best way to ensure evolution in your own life is to lead a healthy and active lifestyle that can be passed onto your offspring.
7 Things We Might See in Future Human Evolution
There are plenty of things we could see when humans undergo the next stage of evolution—so many, in fact, that we were hard-pressed to pick only a certain number of possible evolutionary changes.
There are many opposing belief systems on the topic of evolution, which made it even tougher to choose the most viable evolution possibilities.
After our research, we came up with a list of the seven top traits scientists and evolution experts believe we’ll most likely witness in the future days of human evolution:
1. Increased Height
Human height has increased dramatically over the last 200 years, and we have no reason to believe humans won’t continue getting taller. In just the last 150 years, the average human height has gone up by 10 centimeters.
Experts believe the cause of our ever-growing height includes the advancements in nutrition and the near-disappearance of famine around the world.
If humans continue to have abundant access to adequate nutrition, there is no telling how tall we can grow in the next stages of evolution.
2. Smaller Teeth
Did you know that in the last 100,000 years, human teeth have decreased in size by nearly half? It’s possible our teeth will continue to shrink, according to some evolution experts. The disappearance of wisdom teeth is already taking place in some ethnic groups, as they serve no purpose to humans today.
Due to the lack of need to accommodate large teeth for larger prey and the advancements in the human diet, we can expect our teeth to get even smaller throughout the course of time.
3. Fewer Toes
While our big toe’s purpose is to aid walking and balance, our little toe currently serves no anatomical purpose other than to achieve five-digit symmetry with the hands. There are millions of people today who are born without little toes, which leaves scientists to wonder if the absence of the fifth toe is an early evolutionary trait in humans.
Additionally, before humans came to walk upright, our toes were able to grip and grapple much like our hands. Because most of us no longer have this ability, it’s possible that we can expect humans to evolve into a four-toes species.
The world is currently full of different races and ethnicities—it’s one of the most prominent things we notice about each other. Our different colors and cultures are part of what make the human race stand apart from other species of the world.
Because of our species constantly mixing with each other and generating new races and ethnicities over the course of millions of years, it’s entirely possible that humans will eventually evolve into a single ethnic group. Many experts agree that this is a good thing, as it would all but eliminate racism in the future.
5. Weakened Muscle Strength and Immune Systems
Because of our increasing reliance on technology and machinery to do heavy-duty work, there is a very real possibility of the human race experiencing muscle atrophy, otherwise known as the shrinking of our muscles.
Future muscle atrophy might also be attributed to the possible advancements in humanity’s space exploration, and if our species is constantly exploring the galaxy, our muscle mass will naturally decrease over time.
Not only will we probably see our muscle strength fade away, we might also see the weakening of our immune systems as we know them today. Human immunity has increased dramatically since the days of medieval squalor and medical pioneering, but as modern medicine imprints itself onto today’s society, more and more people depend on various man-made medications to survive.
Because of this, there is a very real possibility that the human immune system will gradually become weaker.
6. Brain Rewiring
The human brain has always been wired to strive for efficiency. Society’s technological advancements have already come far enough to change the way we store and remember information.
For example, whenever we want to know the answer to something, we can now just look it up on Google instead of searching high and low for possible answers.
Technology has made our lives much more convenient, but our memory capabilities are slowly shrinking to accommodate. The more advanced technology becomes, the more we will probably see our brains adapting to achieve maximum efficiency.
7. Electronic Immortality
Future human evolution can be divided into several subcategories, including transhumanism, a philosophical stance pointing to humans surpassing their biological limitations with the help of modern technology.
Transhumanism also houses the concept of scanning brainwaves to computers, effectively making the individual’s scanned brain “immortal”. This version of electronic immortality is entirely possible, especially when considering current technological advancements such as genetic enhancement, cloning, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence.
Our rapidly increasing mastery of technology has repeatedly indicated that, eventually, humans may become one with technology and change the course of human evolution as we currently see it.
CONCLUSION: Why We Should Be on the Look Out for Evolutionary Traits
Believe it or not, there are people among us today who display characteristics of what humans might have in store for the next possible stages of evolution. Do you know anyone who is exceptionally tall, racially ambiguous, or naturally missing a toe or two?
It could very well be that their genetics are showing signs of the beginnings of evolutionary change in the human species. There is also evidence pointing to the fact that each new generation has different brain wiring than the previous generation, which could also be a hint of our current state of undergoing gradual evolution.
As for what’s really in store for future human evolution, we can only speculate and note observations of our current state for now.