Evolution

Assessing the Future of Human Evolution



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Assessing the future of human evolution

It is said that at one time giants roamed the land. This is stated in Genesis, the first book of the Bible - yet, how is it that a mere several centuries ago, our average ancestor was lilliputian by contrast to the current generation? It would seem that we, today, are the giants.

A trip to Manhattan's Metropolitan Museum confirmed this for me - the size of Catherine the Great's wedding gown wouldn't even fit the average six-year-old Russian child today - the horse-drawn carriages of the French Revolution were practically the size of doll carriages - now, I know that the French like to race around in miniscule sports cars, but these were more like toys than vehicles that housed more than one adult passenger. Like many of his contemporaries, Napoleon Bonaparte was a shrimp. Even in my own French ancestry, the average size of my grandparents and their parents was practically a fraction of my children's shoe-size. OK, that was a slight exaggeration, but not the part about the museum exhibits.

Yet, we are told that in ancient times there were giants amongst our kind. Perhaps they got wiped out by the Great Flood and Noah's family sported the Napoleon-type genes ... Maybe it is the recombinant bovine growth hormone that is added to our dairy products that accounts for all the NBA giants in the world today. Got milk?

Human beings, on the average, have changed in other significant ways too ... not only do succeeding generations expand in physical stature, but it is reputed that more and more people have smaller jaws than our forebears - hence more buck-teeth and the need for corrective dentistry. Forget about the population explosion that perplexes our planet - even teeth need a little elbow room. Nature (or the Tooth Fairy) has apparently found a solution; more and more people no longer develop wisdom teeth. That's right, wisdom teeth are gradually becoming obsolete - not to mention wisdom itself. By golly, our forebears had the common sense to eat real food as opposed to chemically processed mystery meat. Maybe that is why they had such robust jaws - the better to grind their molars on a joint of lamb than to suck up a "Big Mac".

The appendix is also obsolete. That accounts for why more and more people today are born without this auxiliary digestive organ, and those who still have them are prone to appendicitis. Modern medicine has devised a solution - surgically remove it as with the back molars that so plague humanity.

The future of human evolution will depend a lot upon population-wide dietary habits and the extent to which we pollute the planet with environmental toxins. The more instant meals we consume, the fewer teeth we'll need. The more chemical additives we need to filter from our bodies, the more likely our digestive tract will evolve to another Chernobyl. The more airborne industrial waste we breathe, the more likely we'll develop auxiliary breathing apparatus - maybe gills. What good will the gills do us if we've polluted the oceans though?

It seems that the future of human evolution should take a more spiritual turn so we become more responsible with the planet and each other. Many say this is already happening; more and more folks are going green and planting trees. Eco-friendly manufacturing plants are beginning to bear fruit and perhaps we are regaining some long-lost ancestral wisdom. Maybe future generations will even become a chip off the old block.

As I see it, no matter how many great spiritual strides we take on the evolutionary scale, silicon technology is here to stay. Perhaps the modern Johnny Appleseed's have got the right picture; personally, I'm investing my stock in Apple Computer related technologies rather than the Microsoft empire. Bill Gates has too many of those Napoleonic genes for my taste.

Perhaps, as time goes on, we'll become more and more bionic as a race. We're practically there already. Braces, pacemakers, prosthetic devices and other artificial body hardware have become commonplace. We lean on artificial intelligence to run our civilization - perhaps eventually, our brains will be hardwired to computers. Maybe someday we'll all be outfitted with a "chip" IN the old block. Some say, this is already happening.

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