Posted by: zyxo | October 19, 2009

Human evolution : amazingly fast !


Who said there that humans stopped evolving because their technical means took over the necessity ?

blue eyes

blue eyes

Apparently this is not true !

It seems that on the contrary since humans started spreading over the entire world some 50,000 years ago their evolution speed shifted to a higher gear.

Some examples of evolution that took place the last 50,000 years :

  • human skull structures of various ethnic groups evolved in different directions (remember we all came out of Africa, looking more or less alike)
  • people living in the Tibet mountains have a special gene which causes the oxigen level in the blood to increas with 10%
  • Scandinavian people have blue eyes : no blue human eye existed before the last 10,000 years
  • sub-saharan Africans developed already 25 genes protecting them against malaria, a disease that is only 35,000 years itself
  • a gene that enables men to digest lactose (a milk sugar) is 8,000 years old and only came into existence after people began to keep cows
  • and a lot of others

Why this speeding up ?

As I wrote earlier in order to have evolution you need i) diversity, ii)(re)production and iii)selection by the environment.
All three of them are present in our last millenia, so there is no reason why there should not be any evolution of the human race.

But there is something remarkable in our recent history : we came out of Africa and conquered the whole planet which means that :

  • number of people was considerably growing , and consequently also our diversity
  • we started to live not only in environments very different from the african plains, but also from eachother, from the ice sheet of greenland to the Sahara desert, to our modern Manhattan

So no wonder that this incredible shift in environments and density caused an incredible speeding up of our evolution. At least 7% of our genome has mutated recently (in the last 40,000 years).

Did you enjoy this post ? Then you might be interested in the following :
top-10 lists on evolution
The pope believes in evolution
Human evolution : the future of men
Evolution towards Intelligent Design
The end of evolution

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