The theory of evolution rests on the idea
of mutation. The gist being—not that we chose to evolve into what we are today—I
mean, who would choose love handles and baldness? —but that multiple mutations occurred, and
then those of us with the most advantageous mutations survived. (Turns out those love
handles prove you can store fat, which is helpful in lean times.) Scientists think it took 3.5 billion years
for us to evolve from single-celled organisms into our present state. If true, this means
we are still mutating and evolving today. And we could, potentially, evolve in any direction.
Maybe we’ll develop flight? Or transparency! Or get our attention spans back! But what if some of our older genes re-emerged?
Could we de-volve into something closer to the ape-like form of every primate’s common
ancestor? What if, one morning we woke up, looked in the mirror, and found the “missing
link” staring back at us? It’s not as far-fetched as it sounds. We
only differ from our cousins, the chimpanzees, in about 2% of our genetic make-up. So, it
wouldn’t take that many alterations to bring us back into ape-shape. It wouldn’t be all that bad either. This
planet would be less concrete and more greenery! So far in the real world, wherever we humans
have been, we’ve cut down trees to build homes, furniture, tools, you name it. Useful
stuff, but also makes it kinda hard to breathe – plants put out oxygen, after all. In any case, since primates spend a lot of
their time in trees, our ape descendants would likely make reforesting the planet a priority.
Plus, trees will provide them with transportation as they swing from vines and leap from tree
to tree. And, where they can’t swing, they’ll fly in spacious solar-powered, gliders. Hey,
we’ll still be humans, just more ape-like. Doesn’t mean we’ll give up the conveniences
of technology. On that note… The focus for technology will likely be on
solar power since we’ll be up in the trees right under the sun. Among those branches,
you’ll find hut-like office buildings, libraries, schools, malls, restaurants with imported
exotic fruits and nuts (not so much meat, and the cows are rejoicing down below!) As our needs change, so will manufacturing.
We’ll still need food. But shelter and clothing? The once-massive clothing industry that drove
the Industrial Revolution with its mills and factories, will all but vanish after our Ape
De-evolution, as most apes will find their natural fur coat suitable for daily wear.
What little of the garment industry survives will probably turn out heavy coats and winter
gear—like for research expeditions to the —recovering! —glaciers! Though, most of us will probably live where
it’s warm. As for those who don’t, their fur will be thicker, their stout bodies more
cut out for the harsh winters of their northern settlements. But, while clothiers go completely bust, the
fur accessory industry will explode! What’s fur for if not to decorate? Ribbons! Bows!
Jewel-encrusted bobby-pins and fur-clips. Not to mention all the fur-care products!
Up-tree salons will offer specialized treatments for the fur on an ape’s whole body! Brazilian
blow-out? Perm? Straightening? Not only limited to the locks on your head in the future! While we won’t need shirts, we may need
twice as many shoes. Like us, apes can walk upright but prefer to lumber along on all
fours. This quadra-pedal preference could give rise to a new industry: hand-shoes and
matching sock-gloves. After a long day, the complaint will be “Oh, my aching limbs!”
The massage industry will thrive! But if we’re getting around on all fours,
how will we hold stuff as we go about our day? To meet that demand, hands-free technology
will probably become even more popular than it is today. Backpacks or headbands with extendable
robotic arms that work in sync with your own limbs thanks to attachable brain sensors! Since we’ll be spending most of our lives
outdoors, the camping industry will morph into something more like today’s household
goods industry. But apish descendants of today’s cosplayers and historical re-enactors needn’t
fret! Having returned to our natural habitat, romantic types will yearn for the “Great
Indoors” and to go “City-ing.” Families can spend a few days “roughing it” inside
ruins such as The Parthenon, Versailles, and Ye Old Shopping Mall, where young apes of
the future will trade tree-climbing and berry-gathering for the wonders of elevators and IRL shopping.
And volunteer apes—in period costumes—”stock the shelves” and “man” the cash register! Wait, but how will we get paid in this world?
What will money look like? Ape-versions of presidents on every bill? Maybe Charlton Heston
in a loin cloth – remember that movie? Possibly. Or more likely a barter system, where you
might trade a haircut for 3.25 (that’s 3 bananas and 25 berries). And there will always be apes out to “Get
Rich Quick.” Once the drift of our de-evolution became clear, speculators will invest in the
banana market, on the common belief that apes go ape for bananas. Like the great Tulip-mania
of the 1600s when tulip farms sprang up everywhere, speculators will plant bananas wherever space
is available. These investors will slip on the banana’s appeal. “The Great Banana
Bubble” will burst when it becomes clear that —while apes do like bananas— they
like them at exactly the same rate humans did. Once supermarkets are flooded with bananas,
prices will plummet, and the banana stock markets will collapse. So, yeah, maybe I’ll
cut back on the banana references? The Empire State Building will remain an important
historical landmark. As such, apes will have to pass both a physical exam and extensive
background check before obtaining the necessary permits to climb the massive structure. Getting
selfies with Fay Wray will cost extra! You know what else will be big? Our mouths!
As big as they need to be, in fact! These days, we have to get our extra wisdom teeth
removed since our jaws have become too short over the years of evolution. But once we go
back to our ape form, these once crowded teeth will have plenty of room! So, while dentistry
will remain a safe career, orthodontists will probably disappear! If our mouths are larger, will this change
our speech? It’s likely! While all apes vocalize, they have trouble with pronunciation.
The problem isn’t cognitive. Apes like the famous Koko have mastered sign language. Today’s
apes don’t speak the way we do because they have thinner tongues, and their larynx, or
vocal box, is placed differently than ours. If we re-evolve to have the same thin tongue
and higher voice boxes, we’ll depend on sign language and … body language! Our descendants will never have to attend
one of those product-parties, where a friend-of-a-friend serves broken crackers and tries to sell you
soap or candles. Instead, future apes will congregate at Grooming Parties—for free!
Every sunrise, apes gather and groom each other. No stale cookies for them! They eat
the bugs they pluck from one another’s coats! Today’s apes possess 3 times an average
man’s strength, implying that our apish descendants (or…re-cendants?) will be much
stronger than we are. This will have a significant impact on what sports are popular. Say goodbye
to the ones that involve a lot of running – soccer, baseball, basketball. If we’re
going back to our ape bodies, then our legs and spines won’t be so good at walking or
running. Though, there will probably be tree-friendly alternatives where the running is replaced
by swinging. Competitive eating will gain prominence, while track-and-field races give
way to skyscraper-scaling and mountain-climbing contests. Traditionalists, take heart! Because our new ape form will triple our strength,
even the gentlest missing link will snap off any doorknob he attempts to turn. (He’ll
barge through anyway.) Museums of the future will brim with displays of these broken doorknobs
along with artifacts like broken DVD-players and tiny airline seats. On the Bright Side,
no ape will ever struggle to open a jar of peanut butter! We’ll still be just as social as we are
today – primates in general live in groups. The desire to gather together and exchange
stories will continue as before. While the technology will change in unpredictable ways,
the narratives themselves will remain recognizable. Did you know that some scholars insist that
William Shakespeare never wrote an original play? The same will be said of William Ape-Speare,
who—reworking classics for a new epoch—will bring forth titles like “Romeo and Juli-ape”
and “The Primate of Venice.” Some of our great works of art will remain preserved in
museums. Art historians will recognize echoes of master paintings from the human era in
great future works like “The Creation of Ape” or the famous portrait “Ape with
a Pearl Banana.” How would you imagine this world? Let me know
down in the comments! If you learned something new today, then give the video a like and
share it with a friend! Here are some other cool videos I think you’ll enjoy. Just click
to the left or right, and stay on the Bright Side of life! (ape: ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh!)