It is a well-established fact that human beings have evolved over time. Evolutionary science tells us that homo sapiens have slowly evolved over thousands of millennia. This has resulted in changes not only in our physical appearance but also our brain sizes and behavior. Looking backwards, human appearances have have clearly evolved down a natural path of evolution, yet looking forward one wonders how technology will affect the way we look in the next 100,000 years.
Now evolutionary science fans are asking how modern technology will change the way we look. To this end, Nickolay Lamm, a visual artist based in Pennsylvania, and Dr. Alan Kwan, a geneticist from Washington University, combined their knowledge and talents to come up with possible answers.
Dr. Kwan based his notion on the brain enlargement and adaptability theory of evolution. According to this theory, brain enlargement during human evolution has been quite remarkable. During the first four million years of human evolution, brain size did not increase significantly. However, evolutionary enlargement of the brain relative to body size became especially pronounced over the past 800,000 years. This phenomenon coincided with the period of the strongest climate fluctuations on the planet.
According to this theory, larger brains allowed our human ancestors to process and store information. It allowed them to come up with solutions to new problems and tackle emerging survival challenges in various different environments. It allowed them to plan ahead and solve abstract problems.
This tendency of brain enlargement has markedly continued, according to researchers. British scientists have found that modern humans have less prominent features and higher foreheads than people during medieval times.
Working together, Mr. Lamm and Dr. Kwan have fashioned “one possible timeline,” to future human evolution. Dr. Kwan has called his timeline “a thought experiment” and not science. His timeline is based on the assumption that by the 210th century, scientists will be able to change human appearances before birth through zygotic genome engineering technology.
“My goal is to get people talking and thinking about things they otherwise wouldn’t have. For example, this ‘Future Face’ project is getting people talking about whether or not something like ‘Gattaca’ may happen,” Mr. Lamm told reporters, referring to the 1997 movie starring Ethan Hawke.
This movie is a science fiction drama set in the not so distant future; a less than perfect man wants to travel into space. But he is denied this opportunity because of his genetic makeup and society sees him fit for only menial jobs. The movie explores the issue: what happens when the wealthy can determine the genetic makeup of their offspring and one’s role in life is decided before birth.
This alarming theory of genetic makeup was also advanced in 2007 in a report by Dr.Oliver Curry, evolutionary theorist from the London School of Economics.
He predicted that the human race would split into two separate species, “an attractive, intelligent ruling elite and an underclass of dim-witted, ugly goblin-like creatures.”
“Physical features will be driven by indicators of health, youth and fertility,” Dr. Curry said in his report.
According to Dr. Curry, future men will have symmetrical facial features and deeper voices. Future women will all have glossy hair, smooth hairless skin, and large eyes.” According to him racial differences will be a thing of the past as interbreeding produces a “single coffee-colored skin tone.”
Some experts have criticized Dr. Kwan for ignoring common scientific knowledge. Dr. Razib Khan, a geneticist said such 100,000 year projections are “fantasy.”
According to Mr. Lamm, Dr. Kwan has admitted that this work is of a speculative nature and not a scientific look into the future. Mr. Lamm added that Dr. Kwan and he were happy that “our humble project has garnered so much attention and provided a platform for others share their own vision of the future.”
These timeline and thoughts are published in the journal MyVoucherCodes.co.uk.
By Perviz Walji
Sources: Fox News, Smithsonian, National Museum of Natural History, BBC News