What humans may look like in the future: webbed toes; fewer teeth and extra eyelids

‘No matter what scenario we might find ourselves in the future, whether it is a water world, a second ice age or colonising another planet; humans will always try to avoid extinction. Ultimately, it is a fight for survival.’

Ryan Ramgobin
Thursday 14 January 2016 11:47
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What humans may look like in the future: webbed toes; fewer teeth and extra eyelids

In an uncertain world facing the increasingly visible effects of climate change to devastating natural disasters, no scenario can be ruled out.

You never know – disaster films like Armageddon and The Day After Tomorrow may one day become a reality; and humankind will have to adapt once again.

Dr Matthew Skinner, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Kent, was challenged by television channel, Syfy, on how the human body might evolve to survive in three different habitats.

What humans may look like in the future: webbed toes; fewer teeth and extra eyelids

Water World

This scenario relates to global warming – melting ice caps could lead to a drastic rise in sea levels, forcing humans to live in an underwater community.

“What we might see is changes to our body which help us to swim better, for example, we might see a lengthening of our fingers – this might cause us to evolve webbed fingers and toes.”

“And perhaps, most striking, what we might see is a nictitating membrane – essentially a third eyelid which helps protect the eye in an underwater environment”.

Planet Colonisation

“The idea of travelling to space has always fascinated humans.”

“We might have to take our food in liquid form or pill form, this would relax the selective pressures on our mouths and we might see our jaws get very small and teeth reduce in size, and we might have some teeth disappear.”

What humans may look like in the future: webbed toes; fewer teeth and extra eyelids

A second ice age

A drastic reduction in the amount of sunlight we receive could result in a second ice age.

This could happen through an asteroid impact or increased volcanic activity leading to a significant amount of ash blocking sunlight.

“One of the things that is critical to our body’s function is the absorbance of Vitamin D from the sun’s light.”

“In order to increase our ability to absorb Vitamin D; we might see our skin become paler, our hair become lighter; but in order to stay warm, we might see an overall increase of hair on our bodies.”

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