Humans always like to look towards the future, whether it’s our own future tomorrow or ten years down the line, or the future of the world in generations to come. Most people like to speculate and guess what unforeseeable situations the human species might find ourselves in in the future. But what about the future of the human species itself? Our evolutionary history shows us that we have undergone change in the past and that there is no end or finish to a certain evolutionary line, unless in the case of extinction. Our species isn’t “finished”, per se, so let’s explore a few popular ideas today about where Homo sapiens is headed.
Let’s get the most defeatist theory out of the way first. A few scientists, namely Ian Tattersall, have put forth the theory that there will be no more human evolution, that our populations are no longer isolated and so there won’t be any significant changes because we don’t stay in one place and develop different needs. These scientists also cite our medical advances as breaking the “survival of the fittest” mechanism which runs the evolutionary machine. They think that until our extinction, humans are going to stay the same as we are now. Which could be true, but let’s move on to other optimistic and far-thinking ideas.
Several scientists have proposed the theory that says the future evolution will be based on intelligence and technological and business sense. Sexual selection plays a large role in evolution, maybe even a bigger role than “survival of the fittest”. These scientists think that those who get to pass on their genes in the future will be the most capable in the marketplace and the more complex technology gets, the more crucial intelligence will be in surviving in our advanced societies.
This theory sometimes gets into dangerous scenarios like in The Time Machine. The wealthy will have access to genetic engineering, giving them the ability to essentially build the perfect baby. There is a lot that we could discuss morally here, but supposing that only the rich are able to engineer their children in the future, there will be a divide between the upper class and the rest of the population, and this divide, supposing that there is not much interchange, could divide human evolution into two branches. It’s an intriguing idea, but one I don’t think we should be aiming for.
But the best theory we have, and also the most realistic, is that once we inhabit other planets or build generation ships to explore other solar systems, the new colonies will adapt to meet the new needs to their homes. This could be that we develop more hair on colder planets or become aquatic on watery planets, or even something like the length of a day could generate changes. Each ship population, if given enough time separated from the larger whole, could become their own species. In the future, I believe we will see a plethora of different human species spanning across the galaxy.
But what do you think? Do you agree with any of these theories, and do you have your own? Let me know in a comment below your thoughts on this topic. Thank you for reading and, until next time, goodbye!
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