What will humans look like in 10,000 years? What about 1 million years from now?
Will we look like this guy? Eh, probably not. But we’ll definitely look different than we do now.
What parts of our body would evolve? How long would evolving our bodies take? And who would win the survival of the fittest?
It took roughly 6 million years for humans to become what we are today. And modern humans have only been around for about 12,000 of them.
And even in that short period of time, humans have evolved slightly. We’ve become about 10 cm (4 in.) taller, and now we can eat dairy foods after childhood. So if those things can happen in 12,000 years, where would we be in hundreds of thousands of years in the future?
First, we should probably figure out exactly what evolution is. Evolution is all about changes in the genetic makeup that happen to a species over time.
Species with more advantageous traits will tend to have more offspring. So those genetic traits will tend to carry on to later generations. For example, giraffes with longer necks who can reach more food will be able to survive better than giraffes with short necks.
And they’ll be able to have more babies, who will likely have longer necks, just like their parents. And as time goes on, the short-necked giraffes will die out, and the long-necked giraffes are the only ones left. And that’s why all our giraffes have long necks today.
So how does this apply to humans exactly? Well, evolution, in this sense, is actually very hard to predict. In the world we live in, we don’t need to worry about the survival of the fittest. Technology has effectively canceled a lot of that.
You no longer need to worry about being the fastest or the strongest. This isn’t 100,000 years ago, when you had to fight for your food. Things like houses to live in, and clean running water, make surviving so much easier.
You never think to yourself, “how am I going to survive today,” but that’s something our ancestors had to worry about constantly. So it’s not guaranteed that 1 million years from now, humans will be stronger, faster, and bigger than ever before.
After all, having children today is generally decided by culture and personal choice, rather than the need for our species to survive. Our future will be decided by the traits of people who have children, and how many children they have. If people who are naturally overweight and have health problems are the only ones having kids over the next million years, then that’s how the human race will end up.
But we might not need to worry about any of these natural occurrences. Instead, we could become completely fused with technology before any of this happens. Cybernetic arms, brain chips, and laser eyes could all become possibilities.
Not only that, but we also might be able to alter a baby’s genes before they’re born, completely getting rid of evolution altogether. This would allow us to get rid of diseases, and any other genetic traits that might harm us.
But if we didn’t have this luxury, and we had to evolve the old-fashioned way, there’s a few things that might happen: we just need to look at how modern humans have evolved in the past 12,000 years. We know we’ve been getting taller, most likely due to nutrition, and that our brains have been getting smaller.
But don’t worry, we haven’t be getting dumber, our brains are actually becoming more efficient. We also might become more immune to various diseases since we’ve conquered lactose in the past 12,000 years.
So in a million years we might be incredibly tall humans with tiny heads. Does that remind you of anything?
At the end of the day, human evolution is incredibly difficult to predict. That’s because, evolution is primarily based on our environment, and who knows what might have happened to the Earth in the next million years?
We might need to evolve to survive fires, as the planet will become so incredibly hot. Huh, I wonder what that would be like?
Or, in the next million years, we might live on other planets, like Mars. Humans would evolve to look completely different there, as they’d be living in entirely different conditions than here on Earth. And I wonder what living on the red planet would be like?
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