Is human evolution finally over? (not immortality)
Tue, 05 Feb 2002 10:44:48 -0800
Cranky arguments may not face much in
the way of selection pressures; this
particular one has been around since
Darwin, if not before.
> 'If you want to know what Utopia is like, just look around - this is it,'
> said Professor Steve Jones, of University College London, who is to present
> his argument at a Royal Society Edinburgh debate, 'Is Evolution Over?', next
> week. 'Things have simply stopped getting better, or worse, for our
Last I heard, certain sharks haven't
changed much in quite a while, yet no
one is crying the "end of evolution"
over that. (Sharks go back to 400mya,
but recent ones, like the hammerheads,
are more like 35my old -- a little bit
after we diverged from the lemurs, and
before we diverged from the baboons)
> In other words, intellect - the defining characteristic of our species
> - is still driving our evolution.
I suspect people who claim this are
haunted by the fear that the unfit
will outbreed the fit.
> For example, brain
> size has decreased over the past 10,000 years. A similar reduction has also
> affected our physiques. We are punier and smaller-brained compared with our
> ancestors only a few millennia ago. So even though we might be influenced by
> evolution, that does not automatically mean an improvement in our lot.'
Species that are kept in prolonged
contact with mankind display signs
of domestication. Should we be so
surprised if it be reflexively true
of H. sapiens?
Some Nazis thought that this was an
obvious worsening in our lot. What
do you think?