Future Evolution of Homo Sapiens
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the publishing of Darwin's On the Origin of Species. It is great that we humans have made it this far in the evolutionary journey. Where will we go from here?
Prediction 1 - Humans Cease to Evolve
One condition for evolution to occur is the isolation of a species for beneficial mutations to become norms. In today's ever-shrinking world however, it is hard to find isolated human populations. Instead, cross-breeding over geographic distances is the norm. Thus Darwin's evolution machine has clogged and will eventually come to a complete halt.
What is more, the concept of survival of the fittest is being discounted in our species. With medical advances in developed countries, almost everyone can live long enough to produce offsprings. It is not bad news to see people living longer, but don't expect to see X-men any time soon either.
Prediction 2 - Humans Continue to Evolve
A recent study suggests that due to ovulatory characteristics, shorter, slightly plumper women tend to produce more children than their peers. Depressing as may this sound for men, these female traits will be passed to their offsprings. Evolution is far from over in this instance. Noticeable or not, we are always looking for favourable characteristics in our mates. Traits such as intelligence, physical attractiveness, and healthy bodies are often more desirable for mate selection.
As genetic technologies advance, we can even speed up evolution. Parents can potentially engineer best of breed children, creating a dominant population class. It is indeed reasonable to expect general improvements in intelligence, physical attractiveness, and superior immune systems in our species.
Prediction 3 - Humans Achieve Electronic Immortality
Perhaps this is a little far-fetched, but a philosophy known as transhumanism sees humans taking charge of their evolution and transcending their biological limitations via technology. This concept raises interesting possibilities such as transferring our mind to computers so that we can live forever. In the digital world, uploaded beings can travel at the speed of light, think faster, and eat nothing! Hell you can even create copies of yourself!
Prediction 4 - Humans Open a New Era of Evolution in Off-World Colonies
Think Star Trek here. Some day, humans may colonize other planets in our spacious universe. This will create isolation among populations and allow natural selection to occur. Just don't expect much to change in a few thousand years however. After all, 30 000 years of isolation among populations in Australia and Papua New Guinea did not result in human speciation.