The Accelerating Pace of Human Evolution

…or at least mutations. has the article.  A quote:

It’s easy to think humans have stopped evolving, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Though modern medicine and civilization’s graces make the struggle to survive more subtle, evolution’s engine keeps churning. In the last few thousand years, in fact, a time when human evolution was once thought to have slowed, it may actually have sped up.

I like the very first comment from Platos Cave:

Nothing in this article refutes the idea that in civilized society, no matter how many mutations occur, there is no natural selection to reproduce the more successful mutation at a faster rate. A dullard with bad eyesight may not be as attractive, but is likely to have just as many kids as a genius with good genes, in fact the genius is more likely to use birth control and reproduce his genes at a lower rate..
Cultural and Technological evolution happen at such a ridiculously faster pace than biological evolution that it would be irrelevant even if it was happening, which it is not.

Unlike Plato, I think human evolution is occurring and natural selection is at play.  But medicine, technology, and culture mitigate or otherwise strongly influence the effect of natural selection.

One response to “The Accelerating Pace of Human Evolution

  1. Pauline Leland

    Instead of mitigating or influencing natural selection, I expect that medicine, technology, and culture are integral components of natural selection. They do not stand outside of the nature we experience; they are part of it and have been since we’ve had a culture. As an aside I read about physical changes in domesticated animals, and the author pointed out that humans exhibit many of the same changes. We have domesticated ourselves. Source – a National Geographic article about a Russian’s domesticating/taming foxes and another article I can’t recall.