• Question: how will the Human race evolve next?

    Asked by 10nicvinc to Daniela, Hannah, Ian, Jono, Mark on 25 Jun 2013.
    • Photo: Hannah Brotherton

      Hannah Brotherton answered on 25 Jun 2013:

      Hi 101nicvinc,
      Evolution involves natural selection, that is in nature those that are the slowest, will be eaten by the predators, and those with illness will die early, so these “weak” genes won’t be passed onto the babies…making the species stronger and evolve.

      However, humans don’ t have natural selection because we have medicine, keeping everyone alive. So physically we won’t change….we won’t sprout legs 😛

      But our brain is probably going to evolve – we are thinking more and more these days, finding out more about eh universe. That means we are getting more clever each day. So we use about 40% of our brains, so I think humans will evolve to use the full 100% one day….which means we could end up answering the questions like ‘what is the meaning of life’

      So we could end up being super-enlightened, time traveling (because we will have figured out time traveling by then) humans

      But some people think we will use technology to evolve – where we can scan our brains into atoms or other objects and travel through space and time – it sounds silly, but people are actually researching this.

      Others think when we become clever enough to travel through space, we will live on another planet, and because the environment will be different over there, natural selection will allow us to evolve – so we could actually end up sprouting new legs lol


    • Photo: Mark Hodson

      Mark Hodson answered on 25 Jun 2013:

      Hi 10nicvinc,

      hard to say because humans now exert such a control on their environment that natural selection, that normally drives evolution, doesn’t really work that well. I suspect that we will evolve to become immune to some bacteria and viruses – perhaps some of the bugs that Ian works on – but probably only after the bugs have become immune to penicllin. Once the bugs are immune to antibiotics there will be an evolutionary pressure for humans to evolve (or we will be wiped out by super bacteria).



    • Photo: Ian Wilson

      Ian Wilson answered on 25 Jun 2013:

      Hi 10nicvinc,

      That’s an interesting one! It’s hard to say, really, as some scientists think we’ve managed to slow down our evolution. Certainly, there won’t be any major changes any time soon – there won’t be a big leap like there was from neanderthal to modern day man. We’re intelligent enough to have used things we find in the world to protect us. We have weapons, we have shelter, we have clothing to keep us warm – it all adds up to mean that we don’t need to change to survive.

      Where we might need to change is in the face of climate change and infectious diseases:

      As the world gets hotter and climates begin to change, it may be that humans need to subtly evolve to favour those of us who can deal with the changes in weather better.

      We’re on the verge of being hit by bacteria and viruses that our antibiotics won’t be as effective against. They’ll be resistant to them. So, we’ll evolve over time to be able to survive the new diseases that they cause. That’s not a major evolutionary leap, but it’s an incredibly important one if we want to survive!

      Hope that helps,


    • Photo: Jono Bone

      Jono Bone answered on 27 Jun 2013:

      Hi 10nicvinc,
      There are lots of different ways we could evolve.. here are some possible ideas..

      Increased Height – Human height has been growing rapidly for the last two centuries. Over the last 150 years alone, the average height of the species has increased by 10cm. It is believed that the main driving force behind this growth is the abundance of nutrition available to many of us.

      Self Improvement- Humans may eventually reach a point where they can force evolution upon themselves through the use of technology. Whether this is literal self-improvement, via bionic organs for example, or through gene selection, which has prospective parents choose their child’s traits before birth, this is the most likely avenue human evolution will take in the near future.

      Weaken Immune systems- As humans become more and more dependent upon medication for survival, we can expect the human immune system to slowly weaken.

      So we probably won’t evolve into XMEN anytime soon but maybe one day??