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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?

  • Gary M. Reese

    Jones’ position is shaky at best. His view is narrow and short sighted. No, we’re not still throwing rocks, but we are competing for jobs, food, and shelter as we always have. It’s that competition that fosters mutation. Natural selection if you will. The strong survive. We are in the throws of this natural selection right now. Those that survive the currant economic upheaval will be the “new” humans. They won’t look any different, but their skills may be shocking. They are among us now. Jones is just too blind to “see” them. Consider a person with 95% total recall, tests in top top 5% of 3d concepts I think they’re calling it now, and a few other skills thrown in. End of human evolution? I think not. In my view, Jones is still throwing rocks.

  • DuckPhup

    Oooohhh… oooohhh… I know. I can see the future. Typically, an environmental stressor of some sort is required to enable ‘natural selection’, and spur evolutionary change. Transition from a gravity to no-gravity environment, for example, ought to do it.

    After populations of humans have existed and reproduced in orbital habitats for a few dozen generations, in a weightless environment, they will end up with a beachball shaped body, with spindly arms and legs and a protruding, muscular, articulating, tube-like fundamental orifice. They will subsist mainly on a diet of cabbage, peas, pork-and-beans and beer, and propel themselves about their environment via controlled flatulence. Oh, yeah… and their sense of smell will atrophy… and they won’t get many visitors.

  • Swen Nillson

    Sounds to me like someone has given up on the evolution theory. Compared to the age of the universe our life span is like a tick of a clock and are we so smart that we can define our past or future via our personal observations?

  • H.G. Wells

    Humans will begin to evolve into two species the enhanced and unenhanced. The Rich will be able to afford the genetic engineering for themselves and their offspring, beauty, longer life etc. while the poor will have to make do with the original model. Sort of like H.G. Wells The Time Traveler.

  • Peter Tithof

    Our minds electrical imagination is about to step into earths electromagnetic fields … Read my post at roseanneworld.com “share your Art” by Quantumrai post title Modern Myth Musical Mosaic . Light is timeless : our minds imagination bends light into any image imaginable … I used Dr Jung dream analyze technique on Top 10 pop hits (30 yrs) ;which tapped the collective subconsciousness 90% of mental activity … We have not seen nothing yet … Walking on the moon right now … in timelessness of Dark matters frozen light …

  • Peter Tith’of

    Our minds electrical imagination is about to step into earths electromagnetic fields … Read my post at roseanneworld.com “share your Art” by Quantumrai post title Modern Myth Musical Mosaic . Light is timeless : our minds imagination bends light into any image imaginable … I used Dr Jung dream analyze technique on Top 10 pop hits (30 yrs) ;which tapped the collective subconsciousness 90% of unknown mental activity … We have not seen nothing yet … Walking on the moon right now … on timelessness of Dark Matters frozen light 90% of our Multi-verses unseen matter …

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