The process of evolution and natural selection doesn't seem to stop. We have evolved from apes to what we are now. The question is "What comes next". Not only in our biological evolution but in terms of technology too.
Could it be that this is the final step of evolution? Our life spans have shortened and the human form has been pretty much the same for last few millennium. Will we evolve further? If yes, then how? What might the future humans look like? What does evolution suggest?


2 Answers 2


Making predictions is hard, especially predictions about the future.

Humans are indeed still evolving, but due to a lack of selection pressures, humans are changing more slowly than species subject to numerous and significant selection pressures.

The reason for this is that due to the way most human societies are set up, pretty much everyone has children, and pretty much all the children grow up to adulthood.

Until that changes, any evolutionary change in humans is likely to be small.

How humanity will change in the future will depend entirely on how that does change. Below are some scenarios, and their likely outcomes.


In a world ravaged by global warming, the sea levels rise dramatically, wiping out a significant chunk of the worlds global economic centres, many of which are built on coasts and rivers. Simultaneously, arable inland areas are ravaged by the sudden change in temperatures, turning the world into a series of large deserts framed by fertile coasts.

The survivors live on the coast, fishing and farming kelps and urchins, and large industrial complexes having been destroyed, those fortunate enough to be good at swimming and holding their breath have a significant edge up on their competitors.

Humans generally evolve to have better lungs, better swimming limbs, and perhaps even gills, some even returning to the ocean completely, becoming mermen. Society rebuilds under the sea, with gleaming cities lit by bioluminescence.

Tectonic crisis

The Earth shudders in its path, spewing forth a great many fires from the depths. Billions die from the ashes and gases and fires, and the survivors are those that can live in the new, sulphur-spewing world.

Humans in general evolve to better deal with the toxic gasses and even to endure higher temperatures.

Nuclear apocalypse

War. War never changes. Until it does: The Earth is laid barren and radioactive by a series of devastating nuclear wars. In the ruins, humans rebuild, and only the most resilient and nuclear-hardened survive.

Humans overall evolve defences against the radiological mutagenic effects, perhaps through oglioploid genetics, and go on as before.


Evolution is a matter of fit to environment, but what it has given us is brains that allow us to create tools to fit to our own environment. We can build warm clothes and buildings that enable us to live in cold climates, we can build cool, air conditioned buildings that suit us to worm terrain. We are at a point where evolution doesn't need to change us currently, we can change ourselves.

Unless we encounter a change in environment that we can't build solutions for, then future evolution is likely to be more driven by things that are no longer problematic for us - for example being short-sighted was once a weakness that might have created a survival pressure, now it is basically immaterial. There are far fewer survival pressures so our species is likely to become broader. This has the interesting side-effect that - as evolution tends to fix on local maxima - if there was a future survival pressure applied ( perhaps by a collapse of civilisation related to environmental failure ) there is a chance that we could have several different evolutionary paths happening at the same time, possibly leading to divergent speciation.

A plausible interstellar-era evolution might be the adaptation of humans to different planets as they are colonised. This might be simple changes ( eyes adapting to different suns and so on ) but again speciation is not impossible.


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