Human evolution, the process that led us to what we are today from what we were 15,000,000 years ago.
Though we seem to have reached the maximum possible state of evolution, for the last 30,000 years, human beings are continuously evolving as a result of natural selection, the phenomenon in which individuals within a population that have traits better suited to their immediate environment survives.
Now, taking into account the continuous changes in our environment, we can clearly say that we are not going to stop evolving.
It is just going to take place in a different manner with time and surrounding demands. For example, as the environment is changing and we are exploring much more in this universe, we may evolve to live in space or may even under water like thousand other species.
For a fact, you and I know that Human beings have the ability to hold their breath underwater longer than any other land animal (though it varies upon practice) and compared to our closest relatives, the apes, we have a much more flexible spine, partial webbing between our fingers (which holds the potential to increase) and toes which are the features of an aquatic environment.
However that doesn’t qualify humans to live underwater at least as of now.
Because if we move to the deep ocean, we would suffer from hypothermia, i.e. the body temperature will fall below 35 degree Celsius and heart and the nervous system will malfunction and the organs will undergo complete failure.
One potential solution to that can be not moving to deep and settling on the surface of water.
Well, we do have enough body hair and fat that could prevent us from hypothermia. But our eyes are not that adapted to see underwater as of 2019.
But interestingly, a new study shows that genetic changes have taken place in some population of the Southeast Asia to grow plus size spleens that may enhance their breathe holding capacities.
One of such groups is the Bajau who live in houseboats in the waterways around and between the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. They have been recorded of holding their breath underwater for as long as 13 minutes.
They generally hunt underwater for food and as such they have developed the ability to see underwater as well.
DNA analysis revealed that there are certain genes in the Bajau people that varies from general people like you & me.
One such gene caused the blood to be squeezed out of the limbs and non-essential areas of the body so that brain, heart and lungs could continue to receive oxygen while another prevented high levels of carbon dioxide from building up in the blood. This simply indicates the evolution of the Bajau to dive deeper and longer in the water.
So, what about you and I who do not live near water areas? Why do we need to think of evolving to live underwater? Or how can we do that?
To discuss this need we simply address the greatest problem of present time, ‘Global Warming’ or ‘Global Climate Change’.
You, I and we all are aware of the problems caused by this phenomena. The average temperature of the Earth is increasing every year and this increase in temperature seems to be causing many potential environmental issues including melting of the polar ice caps, hurricanes, tornadoes and larger areas are becoming affected by drought.
One of the problems that we are facing is the continuous rise in the sea level which may take over the entire land area of the planet in near future.
And these are the reasons we that we human beings living on land for centuries are likely to undergo desired changes just like the Bajau people, in a greater scenario that would make us suitable to live underwater as per the principle of natural selection.
Living underwater means less exposure to sun.
And it is possible that underwater dwelling humans would be paler and may grow bigger eyes to adapt to low light environment. Our feet length may even increase beyond normal size to help us dive under water.
This kind of evolution normally would take millions of years. But, we humans in this 21st century is technologically very much advanced and genetic engineering is the hottest topic of research in the Current period of time.
Therefore, most likely, future human evolution will not be fueled by just random mutations but through genetic engineering. For example developing artificial gills, fastening a few of genetic changes like increasing the partial webbing between our fingers and much more.
All these factors have the potential to lead us to emergence of a new human civilization underwater.
As humans struggle to address issues like global warming; hacking our genes using latest technology to fasten evolution would give us the ability to deal with these issues in ways you & I couldn’t imagine.