It’s a morbid thought, that humans may one day no longer walk the planet. But in reality, we all face extinction at any day, whether it be by a rampaging killer-disease, or a black hole. Humans are a relatively new race compared to some animals, but mass extinctions have occurred in the past and who’s to say it won’t happen again?
But what if we do live? If we overcome all the hardships, and the human race does survive all the threats that has been thrown onto its path. What if we survived for 100, 000 years into the future? Would we look any different?
This exact question was presented to Nickolay Lamm, an artist and a researcher, and with help from Dr. Alan Kwan, who has a doctorate in computational genomics from Washington University, they thought out their reasoning for what humans would look like in the next 100, 000 years.
Their reasoning was that genetic engineering, or the process of manually adding in new DNA to an organism to add traits not already present in the organism, would replace natural selection. They made 3 different photos, 20,000 years, 60,000 years and 100,000 years in the future
Not too many major changes, but still different. The heads are larger to accomodate large brains, and if you look closely, there are yellow rings around the eyes of the models signifying special lenses, acting like Google glass.
Now some major changes can be seen.
- Heads are larger
- Eyes are larger as a result of human colonization of the solar system (people are living further away from the sun with less light)
- Skin pigmentation has changed
- Eyelids are thicker as protection against UV rays for people living outside of Earth’s ozone layer
Finally, 100, 000 years later…
Honestly, when I first saw this photo, it shocked me quite a bit, most notably the manga eyes. Lamm says the “eye-shine enhance low-light vision and even a sideways blink from re-constituted plica semilunaris” to offer extra protection against cosmic rays. These faces follow the golden ratio, as humans will have mastered genetic modification and be able to achieve these traits. Larger nostrils are also present to make breathing in off-planet environments easier, as well as denser hair to contain heat loss from the even larger heads. Lamm also predicts implants to make the humans in the future always be connected, but they would be very subtle and invisible.
My opinion? Kind of scary, but definitely achievable. Modifying ourselves (through cosmetic surgery) is already happening, so I’ll admit that I’m not surprised by why the photos turn out the way they are. I definitely would be interested in seeing the impacts space has on the morphology of the human. But we never know how the direction will go; this timeline definitely depends on the fact that we do colonize the solar system. But there are so many other ways this can go, such as curing aging, or putting in crazy implants that could make us fly. Our body could be modified to be immune to all disease, or rid all toxins in our body. Nevertheless, I definitely enjoyed reading about this one speculation of all the possible futures which could happen.