Do you remember what people of the future used to look like? When science-fiction movies, television and comic books strained to portray humans of the technologically advanced future, they almost always pictured us with giant bald heads that could house our massive brains. (In a particularly memorable episode of The Outer Limits, the highly evolved David McCallum also had six fingers on each hand, the better for pushing buttons, I guess.) We would become a race of supergeniuses who somehow never invented Rogaine. Of course, there were other possibilities, too. The traveler in H. G. Wells's Time Machine went far into the future and found two divergent species: the brutish Morlocks, who lived in machine-clogged tunnels, and the beautiful, bucolic, tasty Eloi. Apparently, Wells envisioned that only New Yorkers and Swedes would survive atomic war.
These days speculation about how humans might evolve seems fallow. The characters on Star Trek, for example, look as though they could just be actors in Hollywood. Maybe this shift to a closer-to-home future represents a subtle change in the public's unconscious grasp of how evolution works (yes, yes, I know: dream on).
This article was originally published with the title The Future of Human Evolution.