The concept of evolution is an area that has been theorized, but these theories are based on the collection of relevant hypotheses.
In my last post, I began a little survey of what humans may likely evolve into; based on the reviews of the evolutionary trend. And we shall take the concluding part here.
[Image Source: Pixabay]
Just to reiterate what you have already known, the process of evolution is progressive, which has led to the diverse adaptative features we have seen over time in the nature of humans. And humans have not done badly in evolving over these numbers of years. You wouldn't be wrong to infer that man is the most successfully evolved creature on earth, and this can be largely attributed to the creative and re-creative abilities in man. No wonder, man has been seen to conquer nature virtually.
Brief trail of human evolution
Just a way to recap; before we look at what humans will evolve into, let us look at what humans evolved from.
Man, no doubt, has been around for over 500,000 years (in the primitive stage though), but the extant modern humans (the Homo sapiens sapiens) appeared less than 70,000 years ago. For a better understanding, let me give a detailed taxonomy of Homo sapiens sapiens (from the Eukaryotes)
|Subspecies||Homo sapiens sapiens|
From the family; Hominidae, the ancient ancestor of modern man appeared, which was the Australopithecus (the creature was about 3.5ft in height and was very primitive, with the brain size of less than half of the modern man)
[Image Source: Piaxbay]
The Australopithecus can be said to be one of the true earliest ancestors of modern man, and included species like; Australopithecus africanus, Australopithecus afrensis (Lucy), Australopithecus robustus, Australopithecus boisei, and a lot of others. Which later evolved, by natural selection, to the pithecanthropus (this was taller and had quite bigger brain mass).
This process continued until the Neanderthal man appeared (though there have been speculations that the Neanderthal was only a side-arm in the evolutionary tree of man. That is, it died out, and didn't evolve into modern man). But as it were, the last major species before the appearance of modern man was the Cro-magnon. Remember, this is based on fossil record, most of which were found in east Africa; Tanzania, Kenya; and even Ethiopia.
So as you have seen a brief history of the modern man, let us extrapolate this to the future and see what the Homo sapiens sapiens would evolve with, and the structural adaptative feature that would be inherent in them.
Evolution of toes and fingers
The ancestor of modern man had longer toes, which were opposable. That was needed because it aided them to grasp branches of trees as they hop from trees to trees. But as man became less reliant on climbing and shifted to walking on the ground, the toes started to evolve to something smaller and the big toes became less opposable.
[Image Source: Wikipedia]
And as it were, the human toes are still evolving. And by reason of our bipedalism, the little toe is almost useless in the process of walking, and could soon disappear. Oh! Did I tell you it has already started disappearing? The world has observed people born without the little toe (or the little toe fused to the fourth toe).
Judging from this trend of evolution, the future human could evolve feet with single toe (just like horses :D).
The fingers are also part of the evolutionary trend. Because of the advent of touch screen technology, humans have gotten too used to punching on the screen. And remember, nature has a way of selecting a particular trait. And as you may know, the modern humans have more opposable finger thumb than our primitive ancestors which were mainly diminutive.
Now that we are relying much on touch screen technology, our fingers will evolve to suit this, and the future humans could evolve very long and thin fingers, and could resemble the octopus' tentacles. Lol, someone said "god forbid", well that's the nature of evolution :D.
Evolution in Height
As I mentioned earlier, the ancestor of modern man; Australopithecus, stood at the average of 3.5ft in height. But according to research by Michael Jougherty (Biologist, Biological Science Curriculum; Colorado), the average height of humans has increased by 0.1meters over the last 150 years.
Though scientists have not been able to pin-point the exert cause of this increase in height, but speculations have it that it could be caused by the kind of food we eat.
Will this increase in size continue? From the analysis of the pattern of growth, it has been estimated that humans could reach an average of over 100ft (if this growth is sustained) by the next 50,000 years. But too bad, none of us alive today would be alive to see this (except immortality is achieved :D).
Evolution in Brain mass
The Australopithecus had a brain size of about 600cm3 (less than half of the Homo sapiens sapiens). And as it evolved, the brain mass became increased, as it is evident in fossil records.
[Image Source: Wikimedia Commons]
The modern humans have about 1350cm3 of brain size, and judging by this fact, and drawing inference from the pattern of increase, the brain could increase more in size.
But also looking at the flip side of this: Lately, complexity has been favoured over size, and if this is the case, then the human brain would evolve to be more efficient, more complex, and not necessarily massive.
But there is one very aspect of human evolution that has been very silently mentioned in this trend, and that is "Race". We all know that all races came from common ancestry, then why the diversity in race? This could be majorly linked to environmental factors.
But something really amazing is happening and it is called "globalization". There are increases in the number of mixed couple, giving birth to mixed babies. Following this trend, in the not-too-distant future, the word "race" would have gone into oblivion. And the best bet is the evolution into "dark skinned" humans. This is because of the increase in ultraviolent rays on the earth and increase in the overall temperature of the earth as the years pass.
But like I've said, we won't probable witness these changes, because these are not set to happen in this present era.
Thanks for reading
All Images are CCO licensed
gif by @foundation