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Thread: Human evolution "radically" reappraised

  1. #1 Human evolution "radically" reappraised 
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    Sep 2006
    Human evolution has been speeding up tremendously, a new study contends—so much, that the latest evolutionary changes seem to largely eclipse earlier ones that accompanied modern man’s “origin.”

    The study, alongside other recent research on which it builds, amounts to a sweeping reappraisal of traditional views, which tended to assume that humans have reached an endpoint of evolution.

    The findings suggest that not only is our evolution continuing: in a sense our very “origin” can be seen as ongoing, a geneticist not involved in the study said.

    (Article at )

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  3. #2  
    Forum Sophomore Nanobrain's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    Texas, US
    I honestly have always assumed that human evolution is ongoing, just like any other creature, just like it always has been. It is the consciededness view of our species by the individual that causes him to think that we humans, in our current form, is the end of evolution. Why is it even remotely supposed that evolution has an end? Mutations happen all the time. Evolution is still within us, and changing us. The contrary is a ridiculous view if I were asked.

    About human evolution speeding up? I think it's wishful thinking. Scientists and the layman always tend to uderestimate and exagorate time, when it comes to future events they look foward to. This happens in the technology field quite often. Although, I believe the wishful thinking in that area is coming under control. And, as time goes, scientists in this field are learning how to judge speed of progress more and more accurately.

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  4. #3  
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    Nov 2006
    I scanned through the article and can say the following.

    First of all, this is just an article for popular media, which makes it impossible to evaluate the scientific validity therof. There was no scientific data included at all. It is mentioned that the paper will be submitted for scientific publication, so I guess we'll have to wait a few months or years for peer review to happen before we can really give any credit to this article.

    Secondly, I agree with Nanobrain that I never thought of evolution as having stopped in humans at all. The notion that it might have speeded up is interesting, but as I said before, I haven't seen any data to support it.

    Human evolution in the last two generations is a very interesting topic for me. Two generations is obviously WAY too short to say anything about evolutionary trends, but it seems to me that "success" in our modern society is not favoured by natural selection. In fact, it seems that "unseccessful" people in the world today are on a population level quite strongly favoured by natural selection. Increased intelligence (as measured by standard IQ tests) thus seems to be selected against and doesn't seem to add to the current evolutionary success of the individuals with that trait! I say this simply based on the population growth differences between "poor and unsuccesful" nations compared to "rich and succesful" nations. Highly developed nations with high standards of living (and also with a high average IQ) produce less offspring per capita than less developed nations with a lower standard of living (and also with a lower average IQ). In the short term it therefore seems to suggest that high intelligence which contributes to a high standard of living and general success, is selected against by natural selection! Of course, some future global catastrophy might prove that in the long run the more "intelligent" communities might be the "winners" through natural selection because they might be better able to handle adverse conditions and to survive better than their "less intelligent" peers.

    Please keep in mind that I'm only talking about more and less intelligent communities on a population level and that I intend no prjudice through these distinctions.
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  5. #4  
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    Aug 2006
    Remember your food chains and energy pyramids etc, the there is always less of the top carnivore thn of the producer or anything subsequently down the list. Evolutionists are starting to consider that there will be a division of man kind into two different species, one tall, intelligent and "good looking", the other, short, less intelligent and "ug;y". This is of course TOTAL speculation and we will never live to see it but its an interesting idea.

    I have always had a controversial idea that "success" as you phrase it is like an evolution in itself, a type of food chain. There are much fewer "successful" people (like the top carnivores), but they have he most money, and are at the top, then there are many more less people at lower stages, who earn less but who are conributing to the successful man.
    I realise this is a totally mad idea but I find it interesting to parallel this with your idea.

    Regarding the article, i have always regarded all life as in a prepetual state of change and that the idea of labeling species and naming them is somewhat of a convenience for us as they will, eventually, evolve into something else, including humans
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  6. #5  
    Forum Freshman wonkothesane's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
    Brisbane, Australia
    I think it is interesting to speculate about future human evolution but surely it is like trying to map the topology of a mountain range based only on what you can see in a tiny valley. We only have reasonably good data dating back a small way and can only meaningfully extrapolate a short distance into the future. Basically I think evolution is "noisy".
    Fry me a kipper skipper, I'll be back for breakfast!
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