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Will future humans develop webbed feet ?

By T.K. Randall
January 13, 2016 · Comment icon 24 comments

Will we one day evolve to live underwater ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Sylvain7171
A prominent paleoanthropologist has suggested that we may eventually develop gills and live underwater.
Some scientists believe that mankind may be on the verge of superseding natural evolution in favor of technological augmentations and genetic engineering, but according to Dr Matthew Skinner, a senior lecturer in evolutionary anthropology from the Universiy of Kent, it is quite possible that we will instead end up developing webbed feet and gills and start living in the sea.

Skinner's theory is based on the idea that, as sea levels rise, it will eventually become more advantageous for our species to adapt to living in underwater communities than on land.
Other physical evolutionary changes could also include the development of webbed fingers, a reduction in lung capacity and even the appearance of transparent eyelids to see underwater.

Dr Skinner has also suggested that future humans living out in space may eventually evolve some unique features of their own including opposable big toes to help grip things while weightless.

"No matter what future scenario we find ourselves in, be it a 'water world', ice age or indeed that of colonising another planet, the human race will strive to avoid extinction," he said.

Source: Sky News | Comments (24)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #15 Posted by ExpandMyMind 8 years ago
It seems as though every few years, some one says that "humans will evolve ..... due to ...." (fill in the blanks with bizarre features and the current favorite global cataclysm or social trend of the day)... I recall reading an article by a serious scientist - back in the 60's I guess it was - that said that due to humans watching television in darkened rooms, we would evolve huge lidless eyes and be resistant to most forms of radiation... yeah - that happened... Um, how fast do you think the process of evolution is? That was barely two generations ago ...
Comment icon #16 Posted by Ell 8 years ago
Climate change could lead to humans growing webbed hands and feet and developing gills to adapt to living underwater, according to an academic. Dr Matthew Skinner, a paleoanthropologist, believes humans would become fishlike to colonise aquatic communities, or 'water worlds', if sea levels rise. If only humanity could evolve to be able to make crazy and ridiculous suggestions. That would be a new and creative freedom! Oh wait ... I suddenly realize that Dr Matthew Skinner has demonstrated that humanity already has evolved that superior intellectual abilit... [More]
Comment icon #17 Posted by Infernal Gnu 8 years ago
YAY! Let's all turn into mer-people and make a home in the seven seas where there are currently 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris and counting. 269,000 tons float on the surface, while some four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometer litter the deep sea. Maybe we can eat it for the fiber.
Comment icon #18 Posted by Zamor 8 years ago
And he bases this on what? That we know that the sea level will rise and our thoughts about it will make us get gills?? Stupid! Zam
Comment icon #19 Posted by Vox 8 years ago
The only way this can happen *naturally* follows three scenarios (without genetic manipulation): 1. There would have to be a complete breakdown of society where those that are disadvantaged in respects to their environment are not able to pass on their genes onto the next generation and only those who have progressively adapted are able to do so. 2. Governments around the world implement some sort of eugenics program to allow progressively adapted individuals to pass on their genetic material whilst excluding those that will not add to the desired direction of evolution. 3. Continued inbreedin... [More]
Comment icon #20 Posted by Ashyne 8 years ago
We won't become fishlike or evolve to live underwater, because it takes thousands of years before this planet is even close to being completely covered in water, and it takes millions of years to evolve to become naturally aquatic. Also, in this time, we would already have colonized plenty of planets across the galaxy. Even now, humans living in primarily wet regions have built homes on stilts, or underwater domes where humans don't directly interact with an aquatic environment. Don't forget also that there will be orbiting homes around the planet when the surface is no longer habitable (which... [More]
Comment icon #21 Posted by Calibeliever 8 years ago
To be honest with continuing advancements in Genetics, we may even take natural evolution out of the loop and do our own thing. Who knows ? That was my first thought when I read this also. We're already so close to controlling our own genetic future that it wouldn't take much of an environmental stressor for people to think that all sorts of things that we now consider crazy, are a good idea. Gills might be the least interesting of our new traits
Comment icon #22 Posted by LV-426 8 years ago
Wings sound much more fun! Come on "academics", use your imaginations!
Comment icon #23 Posted by spud the mackem 8 years ago
With remarks like that Dr.Skinner is about as credible as a monkey reciting the Greek alphabet , what a Moron.
Comment icon #24 Posted by BiffSplitkins 8 years ago
Sounds like someone has watched a bit too many Kevin Costner movies. My ex-wife had webbed toes between her middle and 'index' toe on both feet. I thought it was pretty neat, she was always embarrassed by it. When our daughter was born, she didn't have webbed toes but she did have Ankyloglossia, that still to this day I say came from my ex's side of the family.

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