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Are humans evolving, due to technological changes?


From Darren Curnoe at RealClearScience:

Geneticists have found clear evidence that the choices people make can have profound impacts on the evolution of entire populations, and ultimately, our species as well.

Some striking examples have been found like that both women and men are currently under selection for earlier age at first birth across a wide range of societies.

Other work has shown that women are under selection for later age at last birth in some pre-industrial groups, but a later age at menopause in some post-industrial populations.

The upshot is that in some groups the reproductive span seems to be getting longer for both women and men.

Yet other research has shown that women are under selection for increased height in at least one pre-industrial population and for decreased height in three post-industrial groups. More.

Nowhere near enough time has elapsed for anyone to be sure that ages of first/last birth are long term changes, let alone permanent ones (which is what we usually mean by “evolving”). The claims for the other changes are similarly slight.

Many such changes are entirely cultural and easily reversed. For example, the question of the ages at which women give birth is not governed in any developed society by nature alone but mostly by attitudes, values, and beliefs.

For example, if marriage is considered important, ages of childbirth will depend mainly on ages of marriage, early or late. If there s evolution involved, it is mainly of social attitudes among different groups.

We are still looking for evidence that humans are evolving as opposed to recycling.

See also: Bill Nye ponders, Is the human species still evolving?

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