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Author Topic: Have humans stopped evolving?  (Read 5589 times)

Richard Duron

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Have humans stopped evolving?
« on: 28/02/2011 19:30:04 »
Richard Duron asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Has the human being stopped evolving, what was between man and monkey?

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 28/02/2011 19:30:04 by _system »


 

Offline Bill.D.Katt.

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Have humans stopped evolving?
« Reply #1 on: 01/03/2011 00:22:05 »
Nothing ever stops evolving. We are currently evolving to be the most efficient beings in the (altered) environment that we are in. Humans never evolved from monkeys, we evolved from prehistoric primates. Between each of these primates and us there were many other species. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_evolution has a pretty good chart of our ancestors.
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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Have humans stopped evolving?
« Reply #2 on: 01/03/2011 02:52:20 »
Evolution cannot stop
 

Offline Don_1

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Offline yor_on

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Have humans stopped evolving?
« Reply #4 on: 24/03/2011 23:52:04 »
I read a article some years ago proposing that we all would turn into women in the end :)
No, it's true. But it should take some time, I hope :)
 

Offline JMLCarter

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Have humans stopped evolving?
« Reply #5 on: 10/04/2011 23:23:50 »
I think it's fair to say that the pace of evolution is somewhat swamped by intelligence driven scientific, cultural, economic and technological change.
 

Offline Airthumbs

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Have humans stopped evolving?
« Reply #6 on: 11/04/2011 04:57:21 »
One point to consider is that natural selection may not have quite the effect on modern humans as prehistoric species.
This may alter the rate of evolution.

Normally, I believe environmental pressures speed up evolution such as predator prey competition for example.

I would be interested to see how the pressure of colonising a different planet with a totally different environment would effect the rate of human evolution.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Have humans stopped evolving?
« Reply #7 on: 12/04/2011 17:32:08 »
Are you sure we haven't started devolving, with society favoring football/rugby players and boxers to scientists?

Many of the evolutionary pressures have changed for the species. 

Anything that will favor having larger families starting at a younger age compared to others with smaller families at older ages.  One of the concerns, of course, is that the higher the education, and the higher the wealth, the smaller, later families. 

The question is whether there is any intrinsic difference between the children getting pregnant at 15 vs those waiting till 30+, and thus having a higher generation rate, and perhaps also having more children.

Another issue is that we can allow conception, birth, and growth of babies that would never have been viable in the past.  So, for example, with direct sperm injection into eggs, we can force the reproduction of sperm that might otherwise have genetic defects that would make them incapable of reproducing.  We can "save" very early premature babies (is there a reason they were premature)?  And, with advanced medical care, a sickly baby might survive and reproduce.  In a sense, we have been doing this since the beginning of time.  Humans are one of the few species that have evolved so that our offspring are utterly helpless for the entire first year of life. 

However, understanding things like sickle cell anemia also allows some parents to make a conscious decision to not reproduce the trait, and there will be more testing in the future which will allow prospective parents to choose whether or not to perpetuate certain traits or defects.

Some changes in our species are being documented now with things such as taller people, and younger puberty onset.  Perhaps some of this is genetic.

I presume the "Hispanic Race" is a mix of indigenous and European populations.  Over time, I would foresee a browner population, with a greater mix of the different racial groups causing a lighter skin in the dark skinned populations, and darker skin in the light skinned populations.  And, perhaps other combined features.
 

Offline Farcanal

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Have humans stopped evolving?
« Reply #8 on: 29/04/2011 08:19:28 »
A lot of the changes we experience are because of the improvement in living styles, better food (always debatable), warmer houses and other such things. Less than 100years ago people were still struggling to find their next meal and many diseases killed off lots of people too. With the advent of vaccinations many of those diseases have been controlled or eradicated (e.g. Small Pox, Polio etc). When I was growing up back in the late 40's and 50's children were still dying of Diphtheria and Scarlet fever not to mention the number who afflicted with polio. Both are unheard of today.

Quite right, we didn't evolve from monkeys (they have tails we don't except for a very rudimentary stump), our ancestors were proto plains apes and with a large ammount of luck we survived to what we are today.

Human children are born with large heads which is why women have so much trouble giving birth. The other primates have much smaller heads at birth. The reason for the large heads is because of our well developed brains that take many years to learn all the things we need to survive.
 

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Have humans stopped evolving?
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