A scientist has claimed that future humans could evolve some pretty bizarre characteristics in response to the changing environment.
According to the Daily Mail, experts have calculated how our appearance may change under different scenarios – including a water world brought on by global warming, a second ice age or if we colonise other planets.
Dr Matthew Skinner, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Kent, examined the scenarios and worked with artist Quentin Devine to help visualise how humans could look in the future.
To adapt to a water world, Dr Skinner expects humans would develop webbed hands and feet and eyes like those of cats – with an extra translucent eyelid to protect the eyes and help us see in the poor lighting conditions underwater.
Artificial gills would develop to help us when foraging in shallow waters, also leading to our lung capacity becoming greatly reduced and our rib cages shrinking.
In the ice age scenario, Dr Skinner predicts our skin would become very pale to produce more vitamin D from less sunlight, we would have more body hair, and we would become more muscular.
Our noses and face size would increase to help warm up the cold air being breathed in and we would become stronger, as fewer resources and technologies would make physical power more important.
If science fiction becomes science fact and we do colonise other worlds, we would need to undergo a variety of changes to cope with low gravity.
Dr Skinner thinks we may develop longer arms and shorter legs as, in low gravity, walking would be less necessary, leading us to resemble orangutans, who swing through trees rather than walk.
According to the Mirror, Dr Skinner said:
No matter what future scenario we find ourselves in, be it a water world, ice age or indeed that colonising another planet, the human race will strive to avoid extinction – ultimately, it’s a fight for survival.
He suggests that, having a lack of predators, humans’ overall body size would reduce. This is seen in nature in a phenomenon called ‘island dwarfing’, where mammals have low resources available and few predators.
No predators? Has he seen Alien?