Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Study finds humans still evolving, and quickly

The pace of human evolution has been increasing at a stunning rate since our ancestors began spreading through Europe, Asia and Africa 40,000 years ago, quickening to 100 times historical levels after agriculture became widespread, according to a study published today.

By examining more than 3 million variants of DNA in 269 people, researchers identified about 1,800 genes that have been widely adopted in relatively recent times because they offer some evolutionary benefit.

Until recently, anthropologists believed that evolutionary pressure on humans eased after the transition to a more stable agrarian lifestyle. But in the last few years, they realized the opposite was true -- diseases swept through societies in which large groups lived in close quarters for a long time.

Altogether, the recent genetic changes account for 7% of the human genome, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

(Via Beyond the Beyond.)

The implications make the mind reel . . .


Anonymous said...

We damn well better evolve quickly or there won't be anything to evolve!

--W.M. Bear

Anonymous said...

Well my DNA has been "changed", that's official from the docs at hospital. Whether it was by ET when they abducted me in October1991 or as a result of damage from CFS/ME, I don't know. One things for sure, I really do feel "different" Apart from an increase in IQ, I feel terrible. I also no longer feel "human" Everything about life on earth seems bland, tatty and outdated.