The following is an excerpt from Lucy Jones | August 3, 2018 | BBCearth.com |
To understand our future evolution we need to look to our past
Will our descendants be cyborgs with hi-tech machine implants, regrowable limbs and cameras for eyes like something out of a science fiction novel?
Might humans morph into a hybrid species of biological and artificial beings? Or could we become smaller or taller, thinner or fatter, or even with different facial features and skin colour?
Of course, we don’t know, but to consider the question, let’s scoot back a million years to see what humans looked like then. For a start, Homo sapiens didn’t exist. A million years ago, there were probably a few different species of humans around, including Homo heidelbergensis, which shared similarities with both Homo erectus and modern humans, but more primitive anatomy than the later Neanderthal.
Over more recent history, during the last 10,000 years, there have been significant changes for humans to adapt to. Agricultural living and plentiful food have led to health problems that we’ve used science to solve, such as treating diabetes with insulin. In terms of looks, humans have become fatter and, in some areas, taller.
Perhaps, then, we could evolve to be smaller so our bodies would need less energy, suggests Thomas Mailund, associate professor in bioinformatics at Aarhus University, Denmark, which would be handy on a highly-populated planet.
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