Human beings

Welcome to the year 3000 and a brave new world

Nic Fleming October 18, 2006

HUMANS will grow to an average of two metres, live to the age of 120 and all have brown skin by 3000, an evolutionary expert says.

Oliver Curry, of the Darwin@LSE research centre at the London School of Economics, said on Monday racial differences would become less pronounced, thanks to trends in nutrition, medicine and migration.

Dr Curry predicted humans would decline physically and lose key social and interactive skills because of an over-dependence on technology and medical interventions.

By the year 102,000, humans will have split into two sub-species — the “genetic haves” and the “genetic have-nots”. Dr Curry, who was commissioned to do the study of how humans would evolve over the next 1000, 10,000 and 100,000 years by TV channel Bravo, said: “The future of man will be a story of the good, the bad and the ugly. While science and technology have the potential to create an ideal habitat for humanity over the next millennium, there is a possibility of a monumental genetic hangover.

“After that, things could get ugly, with the possible emergence of genetic ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’.”

Dr Curry said humans would reach physical peak about 3000, with improved nutrition and understanding of the human body. Men would reach average heights of between 1.83 and 2.13 metres.

Physical features would evolve to emphasise features valued in the opposite sex by men and women looking for potential mates, such as health, youth and fertility.

Men would have more symmetrical facial features, squarer jaws, deeper voices and be better endowed. Women would have large, clear eyes, pert breasts, glossy hair, more symmetrical features and hairless skin.

Variations in skin colouring were expected to be smoothed out, with most humans moving towards a brown tone.

“Race is only skin deep,” Dr Curry told Britain’s Sun newspaper. “There was a time when we were all the same colour. As we become more interconnected throughout the world, racial difference is likely to be diluted.”

By about the year 12,000, he said, communication skills and emotional capabilities such as love, sympathy, trust and respect would have diminished, eroding the abilities of humans to care for others or perform in teams.

The increased eating of processed foods would mean humans did less chewing, leading to less developed jaws and shorter chins. Immune systems would deteriorate due to hygiene obsession and a heavy reliance on medicines.

“If we are all popping pills, diseases such as cancer won’t be weeded out of the gene pool,” Dr Curry told The Sun. Infants would be larger at birth, forcing mothers to have caesarean sections. Humans would be able to replace faulty stretches of DNA thanks to advances in genetic engineering — potentially leading to more genetic uniformity and vulnerability to disease.

“Our ideas of what we find attractive will evolve and as a result we will develop technologies that will enable us to upgrade ourselves,” he said.

He predicted that in 100,000 years the genetic elite would move in ever more exclusive circles. They would be increasingly tall, thin, clean, healthy and creative, while the genetic underclass would be short, stocky, asymmetrical, unhealthy, less intelligent and grubby.

“We certainly can’t predict definitely what is going to happen but we can make educated predictions based on our understanding of how evolution works,” Dr Curry said.

TELEGRAPH 18 October 2006