Just as the human face has evolved considerably since Stone Age times so it is expected to keep changing in the future.
Today the human brain is three times the size of our primate ancestors. As our brains grew so did our heads get bigger, our skulls expanded and our features became flatter.
Now with the advent of wearable technology, such as Google Glass, how will our heads and faces evolve in 20,000 years, 60,000 years and even 100,000 years from now?
This was the question posed by artist and researcher Nickolay Lamm from MyVoucherCodes.co.uk when he quizzed Dr Alan Kwan, who holds a PhD in computational genomics from Washington University.
Based on their discussions Lamm has created a stunning series of images which display one possible evolution for the human race over the next 100,000 years.
Dr Kwan believes that key to our future evolution will be man ‘wresting control’ of the human form from natural evolution and adapting human biology to suit our needs.
As genetic engineering becomes the norm, ‘the fate of the human face will be increasingly determined by human tastes’ writes Dr Kwan, while foreheads will continue to expand as our brains continue to grow larger.
As man achieves total mastery over human morphological genetics, the human face will become heavily biased towards features that humans find fundamentally appealing: strong, regal lines, straight nose, intense eyes, and placement of facial features that adhere to the golden ratio and left/right perfect symmetry.
Dr Kwan believes eyes will grow ‘unnervingly large’ as the human race colonizes the solar system and people start living in the dimmer environments of colonies further away from the sun.
Eyes will also develop in other ways – that would seem startling from our viewpoint today – with new features including eye-shine enhance low-light vision and even a sideways blink from re-constituted plica semilunaris to help protect our eyes from cosmic rays.
Skin will also become more pigmented to help alleviate the damage by harmful UV radiation outside of the earth’s protective ozone.
Dr Kwan also predicts that people will have thicker eyelids and a more pronounced superciliary arch (the smooth, frontal bone of the skull under the brow), to deal with the effects of low gravity.
There will be other functional necessities: larger nostrils for easier breathing in off-planet environments, denser hair to contain heat loss from a larger head, reports Forbes.
As well as practical developments to suit changing environments there will also be more cosmetic developments. Parents will choose precisely the genetic makeup of their offspring – selecting the color of their eyes, hair etc.
Dr Kwan predicts a trend towards humans wishing to look as natural as possible even as there are greater numbers of technological advancements under the skin.
‘Communications lenses (commlens) in contacts and miniature bone-conduction devices implanted above the ear will work in tandem,’ predicts Dr Kwan.
‘Bone-conduction devices, with embedded nanochips, will communicate with some external device for communications and entertainment.’