One of the world’s leading authorities on the political and economic impacts of life sciences, Juan Enriquez, claims that the human species is evolving right before our eyes. Conditions such as autism, synesthesia, and schizophrenia may actually be a result of this evolutionary process. In fact, Enriquez says that our children or grandchildren may actually be an entirely different species when all is said and done.
Though the hypothesis may sound a little science fiction on the surface, the man behind the idea is anything but questionable. Biotechnonomy notes that Juan Enriquez “is recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on the economic and political impacts of life sciences. He is currently Chairman and CEO of Biotechonomy LLC, a life sciences research and investment firm. He was the Founding Director of the Harvard Business School Life Sciences Project, and author of the global bestseller As the Future Catches You: How Genomics & Other Forces are Changing Your Life, Work, Health & Wealth.”
Enriquez questions whether or not the human species is currently evolving before our eyes. In a recent TED talk, Enriquez uses a variety of different forms of research to make a strong case for a new species of human just on the horizon.
“So, you know, minuet changes lead to different kinds of tortoises in the Galapagos or lead to different kinds of finches. And there’s changes in what they eat, there’s changes in predators, there’s changes in the environment, there’s changes in the living conditions, there’s changes in the housing – so you move from a cactus to a cave or whatever. And as you do that, the species has to rapidly evolve. Now, think about human beings and what’s happened over the last century, century and a half. We’ve gone from primarily being a rural species to being an urban species in the majority. We’ve supersized our diets. All of a sudden the average human being has gotten a lot taller, and you notice that we’ve gotten old. And if you changed every single conditional on an animal, you would expect to see rapid evolution. And that’s actually what you’re observing humans today.”
An interesting perspective presented by Enriquez is that autism, ADD, ADHD, and sensory “disorders” are actually an evolutionary response to the amount of data that is now flowing through our brains on a daily basis. Enriquez says “we’re trying to take in as much data in a day as people used to take in in a lifetime.” As a result, our brain has transitioned in a way to better sort through that data.
One particular reason that Enriquez feels so strongly that the human species will evolve into a new species is the power that the human race has over its own evolutionary process. Enriquez notes that we have the power to decide what our evolutionary species will look like and how they will live.
“So for the first time in, I think, the history of this planet, you have a species that is answering the question you’re asking which is what will we look like in 500 years – not because of random mutations, not because of what’s sitting out in the environment – pressuring us or selecting us – but basically because of our own design……….And I think what will happen in 500 years is we will likely have bigger heads. We will likely be taller. We will likely live a whole lot longer, and there will be likely a whole lot more variety.”
Enriquez also notes that we are already “tinkering” with our own genes. You have scientists who are removing, altering and switching up genes. This is leading to a whole new version of humans. In fact, Enriquez says that this process will lead to a variety of different types of humans.
“We’ll build stuff we don’t like. And I think what will happen is we’ll also find stuff that were very happy with. You know, writing these books of life and rewriting them and learning how to alter them, and where we came from and where we’re going – there’s no bigger story. And there’s nothing more important going on on this planet.”
Enriquez says that the bottom line is simple.
“What I think we are doing is we’re transitioning as a species, and I think we’re transitioning into a Homo Evolutis that – for better or for worse – is not just a hominid that’s conscious of his or her environment – it’s a hominid that’s beginning to directly and deliberately control the evolution of its own species, of bacteria, of plants, of animals.”
What do you think of the prospect of your children or grandchildren being an entirely different species than you? Do you think humans are evolving right before our eyes? What do you think about Enriquez analysis that autism and other sensory issues may actually be a result of human evolution?