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Have humans stopped evolving? If not, how are we evolving?

Discussion in 'Science & Technology' started by lumpthing, Jul 30, 2009.

  1. ArmorPierce

    ArmorPierce Warlord

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    Humans are evolving, albeit in a much slower pace. Since there aren't as many environmental pressures, efficiencies are getting more and more common in the population.

    That's not true.
     
  2. GoodGame

    GoodGame Red, White, & Blue, baby!

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  3. Imrahil91

    Imrahil91 Prince

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    Well, it must be in all natural selection that those who get the most children who also get children will pass their genes on.
    It may be possible that healthy people are more likely to have children in the modern society, and thus make our race better.
    But it is a fact that many people who were 'supposed' to die at an early age because of bad genes (diseases etc.) gets children and passes on their genes.
    I would assume that the kind of evolution that make us more resistant and healthy gets slower in a modern society, but I may be wrong.
    If the bacterias and viruses wins the 'evolution race' and get to a point where oure medicines can't stop them, and our resistance is too bad, advanced genetic engineering better come before that, so we can make perfect humans.

    Anyway, the kind of people who get many children will dominate man's genes in the future, whatever that will mean...
     
  4. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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  5. JonathanStrange

    JonathanStrange PrinceWithA1000Enemies

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    Yes, my understanding that evolution is often confused with progress whereas I think scientists see it more as - to put it imprecisely - becoming better adapted to one's environment to the extent that reproductiove success in enhanced. If becoming smarter or taller or stronger helps to that end, those traits will become more common.

    The strange possible evolutionary fates of humanity are a favorite sci-fi topic from H.G. Wells "Time Machine" onward. Sometimes we change little, sometimes we become cybernetic creatures, sometimes we go digital ("the Singularity"), and sometimes we become little childlike inhabitants symbiotically dependent on plant-life in a distant future ("Evolution" by Stephen Baxter).

    I hope I can upload my "being" into so Transformer type robot and crush all of you ... err...present company excepted...under my heels.
     
  6. AngryZealot

    AngryZealot King

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    If you believe natural selection is the primary driver of evolution, then evolution for humans has probably slowed significantly. If you believe genetic drift is the dominant mechanism, then not much has changed at all.

    But we are absolutely still evolving. Our diet has shifted dramatically in the past 10000 years, so we expect us to evolve in that direction (tolerating fattier foods, more meat, etc). In industrialized nations, there is selection for faster reflexes (eg, car crashes are a leading cause of death among teenagers). The increased social freedom of women puts selection on later child birth. With longer life spans, there is selection for better cancer-fighting systems. Thanks to glasses, there is less selection on eyesight, and the average eyesight has likely decreased in the past few thousand years. You can come up with all sorts of plausible evolutionary directions like these.
     
  7. Luckymoose

    Luckymoose The World is Mine

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    We keep getting taller.
     
  8. AngryZealot

    AngryZealot King

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    The evidence shows that the increase in height is primarily due to increased nutrition.
     
  9. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    of previous generations = evolution
     
  10. Olleus

    Olleus Deity

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    I would define evolution as the change of genetic material overtime. Nutrition is something exterior and I don't think that can be said to be a change of the human species in it self, just a side effect.

    In a similar way, if you take some bacteria in a cold environment and move them to a slightly warmer one so they move and reproduce faster, would you say that the bacteria evolved as you where moving the petra dish around the room?
     
  11. darkedone02

    darkedone02 The Suggestor

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    Oue body is evolving, little by little... people may think we are not evolving because of how we are, and how we are repeating the past, doing stupid things, and other crap like that, but that just few of the people's minds... but our body is still growing, we are getting further into technology, we face hardships and sacrifices, we are developing at a certain rate, mentality and soon physically.
     
  12. Kraznaya

    Kraznaya Princeps

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    Shouldn't the pace have slowed considerably given that it's usually small isolated populations that evolve the fastest (exactly what humans are not)?
     
  13. Ayatollah So

    Ayatollah So the spoof'll set you free

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    Nail's head, meet yared's hammer :hammer:

    Memes rule. Genes drool.
     
  14. lumpthing

    lumpthing generic lump

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    Ooh, lots of good observations there. That was the kind of stuff I was interested in.

    This is what I heard too. What I never understood was why the elite in ye olden days were also small. Kings and queens could eat as much as they, from when they were foetuses right to when they died, so why were they so much smaller than modern day's poor people in industrialised nations. I know medieval royalty had bad nutrition in that they ate too much meat, but that goes for modern-day people too.

    I was wondering if maybe it was a combination not only of the individual's own nutrition but also of the size s/he reached in the womb, which I imagine is affected by the mother's own size. This would mean that it would take several generations for "grow-tall" genes to have their full impact, since the "grow-tall" genes' potential would be limited by previous generations' bad nutrition resulting in small mothers.
     
  15. Olleus

    Olleus Deity

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    Not falling ill in childhood also probably means that you will grow tall in adulthood.
     
  16. ParadigmShifter

    ParadigmShifter Random Nonsense Generator

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    I heard that earlobes are getting smaller and will eventually be evolved out, and what about male nipples?
     
  17. Eran of Arcadia

    Eran of Arcadia Stormin' Mormon Retired Moderator

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    I doubt they are going away any time soon - they have existed as long as female nipples have, and if my limited understanding of genetics and embryology is at all accurate, it would be more resource intensive not to make them.
     
  18. civ_king

    civ_king Deus Caritas Est

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    I'm pretty sure that until about midway into the pregnancy all fetuses are fundamentally female and so the nipples come about then and they would have to disappear so males to not have them
     
  19. NKVD

    NKVD Cossack

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    our thumbs will evolve greatly over the next centuries. I've read youngers already have thumbs over-developed compared to boomers. thumbs will become stronger and get longer due to its over utilization with all those xbox, cellphones text messaging and keyboards...
     
  20. Mechanicalsalvation

    Mechanicalsalvation -

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    There would be probably a new kind of man (superman) living in the future living along with the kind of present day man. The difference would be probably in his capacity to utilise more of his potential (mind) and he is going to evolve consciously. Amen.
     

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