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December 12th, 2008
In The News: The End of Evolution?

In many ways, The Human Spark tells a story of evolution as we look at the emergence of different related species over vast quantities of time. British geneticist Steve Jones has lately made the provocative assertion that human evolution is coming to its end. Here’s his explanation for why.

He doesn’t say human beings have achieved perfection –- but he does suggest that our population is becoming much more uniform. Remember that evolution depends on random genetic changes for natural selection to work on. Jones argues that fewer older fathers in the developed world means less genetic variation. And the mutations that do occur don’t give anyone much of a competitive edge because we no longer live under the tough conditions our ancestors did. Populations are much larger and far less isolated than they were in the past, too, which cuts down the possibility that a random change can take hold in a small group.

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Jones doesn’t offer much by way of evidence to back up his position.

What do you think? Is evolution coming to an end? What evolutionary pressures do you think still exist? What could a future human look like?

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