Are Humans Evolving Faster?

Dec 06, 2007

Researchers discovered genetic evidence that human evolution is speeding up – and has not halted or proceeded at a constant rate, as had been thought – indicating that humans on different continents are becoming increasingly different.

“We used a new genomic technology to show that humans are evolving rapidly, and that the pace of change has accelerated a lot in the last 40,000 years, especially since the end of the Ice Age roughly 10,000 years ago,” says research team leader Henry Harpending, a distinguished professor of anthropology at the University of Utah.

The complete story is available at phys.org/news116529402.html

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User comments : 13

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TheRogue
3.5 / 5 (2) Dec 06, 2007
The concept that I believe is missing is that EVOLUTION itself is evolving. It has never been static and is speeding up along with everything else.
Sean_W
1 / 5 (1) Dec 06, 2007
I wonder how long it will take for the modern introduction of advanced forms of transportation and the increase in exogamous mating between populations to move from diversifying groups to integrating ones.

Also, we have just now entered a period of history when most of our huge population is living in urban habitats. It will be interesting to see if social skills and innate problem solving abilities are increasingly selected for by these complex environments. Any culture which is able to overcome the "wealth = low family size" equation will certainly have an advantage.
fleem
not rated yet Dec 06, 2007
Another factor might be that as our brains become more complex we are better able to judge the competence of a prospective mate. For example, the more complex our language and ability to communicate symbolically, the better we can judge intelligence in a prospective mate.
jeffsaunders
not rated yet Dec 06, 2007
I think our genes will be favouring those people more willing to become sperm donors
jeffsaunders
not rated yet Dec 06, 2007
New genes will include abilities to process diets high in fat and sugar and lactose as well as crcinogenic substances in processed foods - ability to breath poor quality air and live in densely populated environments.

Evolution is not done with us yet.
nilbud
5 / 5 (1) Dec 07, 2007
Blessed be the meek then. Poorer = shorter gaps between generations, richer people breed later. Therefore the poor evolve faster as the rich inbreed and decay.
samlehmanwilzig
5 / 5 (1) Dec 07, 2007
For the first time in human history we have a broad-based "social welfare" system which provides a minimal safety net to almost all citizens (except for some parts of Africa, L. America and Asia) and hopefully in the future to ALL humans on Earth. Combine this with modern medicine that has mostly eliminated childhood deaths and we now have a situation designed to slow down evolutionary change because there is little "survival of the fittest" (almost everyone survives to procreation age) nor even a significant need for "environmental adaptation" (we almost all live in permanent housing with significant protection from, and TECHNOLOGICAL adaptation to, the elements). In short, the modern world and its scientific/technological/social accomplishments tend to arrest evolutionary development.
Quantass
not rated yet Dec 07, 2007
Evolution is by way of "Natural Selection"...and so human beings will continue to look and be the same in the far future simply because their is no selection process at a large scale to distinctively select a small group at the expense of the larger one...Until this happens, such as in an event of a Meteor striking earth sending it back into the stone age, humans will continue to be the same. This is why aligators and sharks continue to be the same as they are hundreds of millions of years.
Beav
not rated yet Dec 08, 2007
I'm surprised at some of these comments considering comments made by Ray Kurzweil and the Singularity Summit at Stanford ("Ray Kurzweil" search on YouTube).
Doc_of_the_Bay
not rated yet Dec 14, 2007
I have speculated as much for years now, so this finding is not much of a surprise. After Homo sapiens spread out of Africa to colonize the far reaches of the planet, it is not surprising the geographical barriers allowed cultural and selective isolation, even though such isolation was never complete. Trade and warfare always dampened complete isolation. However, the world is no longer spreading apart as it did in the recent past, but rather, drawing together these days in intensified trade, direct population blending, and cultural intermingling. The earlier means of rapid evolutionary selection leading to diversity, geographic isolation, I would expect is now over.
Cyrellys
not rated yet Dec 14, 2007
Here is two cents worth mentioning. It is commonly known among animal breeders that when you lower the death ratio (breeding stock managed in safe confines) while opening the genetics to a certain amount of diversification (ie mixing two or three breeds to improve the offspring) that there will occur "sports" or mutations which would not have otherwise been possible if survival of the fittest was in primary control of genetic influence. Such mutations might include recessive traits held by an extreme few in the group but because of survivability being up the mutation now has an opportunity to become more prevalent. ie Jersey Blue Giant Chickens, or Delaware Chickens are good examples. Sorry folks evolution is the ultimate escape artist and we are beings of endless possiblities.
Danube06
not rated yet Dec 23, 2007
I don't see why this is so special, since speciation takes on the scale of 1 million years or more to occur in a species as complex as humans.

And I wouldn't really trust much in the way of Harpending, Hawks, and their friend Cochran. They've always supported racialist research, as mentioned by their Ashkenazi intelligence study, and they had to drum up that cheap "political equality" screed to drum down any opposition to their research. Which makes me question this. They're disgusting.
Danube06
5 / 5 (1) Dec 23, 2007
To give you an idea of where Harpending's head is at, here he is quoted as giving a rave review to ridiculous racialist screed "Race, Evolution, and Behavior": http://amren.com/...h-un.pdf

"%u201CPerhaps there ultimately will be some serious
contribution from the traditional smokeand-
mirrors social science treatment of IQ,
but for now Rushton%u2019s framework is essentially
the only game in town.%u201D
%u2013 Henry Harpending, U. of Utah"

And, as for Cochran, who's a close friend of this group and does similar work, check out his long-time partnership with Steve Sailer.

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