Effect of global warming on humans, warns scientist.
By Sreekanth A Nair
Human beings may undergo many changes and evolve strange features like webbed feet and cat-like eyesight in response to changing environmental conditions, warns a British scientist.
Experts have studied the likely changes in the human body that could happen under three situations: one in a water world resulting from rising sea levels due to melting ice caps, in a second ice age caused by asteroid strikes and if humans occupy other planets.
Dr. Matthew Skinner, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Kent, has arrived at some conclusions after studying these three scenarios. With the help of artist Quentin Devine, he has also visualized how humans could look in future.
Skinner is of the view that humans may evolve webbed feet and hands very quickly as a result of climate changes. But other changes may take hundreds of generations of natural selection to come into effect, which will enable humans to live in extreme conditions.
“We could genetically engineer ourselves if important enough to survive. Some of these things we might try to develop as a necessity rather than occurring over time naturally. Others could occur over tens of thousands of years,” he told Daily Mail.
Webbed hands will help to live in water and cat-like eyesight will help to have a clear vision in underwater light conditions. An additional layer in retina will help for good vision and an extra translucent eyelid can protect eyes from water.
Skinner says that to enable the body to spend more time underwater the level of body fat may be increased. Also, spending more time in water may lead to the development of artificial gills, which help to extract oxygen from water.
Under the conditions of an ice age, human skin may become pale in order to produce more vitamin D from less sunlight. The size of our face and nose will increase to keep the inhaled cold air warm. We will also have more hair.
Body size would increase, especially for men who have to find his mate using his physical energy rather than intellect. When there are fewer resources and no technology, it is natural to have more physical strength.
Female body will also become strong and would have more hair.
If humans occupy other planets, the body would undergo many changes to adapt to low gravity conditions. Arms would become longer and legs shorter since it is easy to walk. Upper and lower limbs would become similar in length, like orangutans.
Opposable big toes may be developed and teeth may be completely lost leading to leading to a reduction of jaw and mouth size, which will result in mouth size getting reduced.
As natural predators are too less the overall body size of humans would also reduce.
Skinner’s study will be launched on the Syfy Channel as the new series of science fiction drama Extant.