In a step toward proving that the human race is still evolving, two geneticists out of the University of Chicago have discovered that two genes that
govern the size and complexity of the brain, Microcephalin and ASPM, found groups of variants, known as haplogroups, that emerged about 37,000 years
ago and 5,800 years ago. The timing of the emergence of these groups comes well after evolution of modern man which occurred approximately 200,000
These haplogroups also demonstrate that evolution does not need to take millions of years but can take place in a relatively short period of time.
These geneticists also state that if the human race survives the next million years, there will be significant structural differences between the
brains of humans today and those of humans in our future.
Sept. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Human brains are still evolving, increasing in both size and complexity, University of Chicago geneticists said in two papers
published in the journal Science.
Scientists studying two genes that regulate brain size, Microcephalin and ASPM, found groups of variants, known as haplogroups, that emerged about
37,000 years ago and 5,800 years ago, according to the papers published yesterday in Science. Anatomically modern humans evolved about 200,000 years
``Our studies indicate that the trend that is the defining characteristic of human evolution -- the growth of brain size and complexity -- is likely
still going on,'' Bruce Lahn, lead researcher for both papers, said in an accompanying statement. ``If our species survives for another million years
or so, I would imagine that the brain by then would show significant structural differences from the human brain of today.''
For both genes, the ``new'' class of variants was called haplogroup D. Versions of the Microcephalin variant are found in about 70 percent of humans,
and ASPM's haplogroup D is present in about 30 percent of today's people, according to the papers. ASPM stands for Abnormal, Spindle-like Microcephaly
Associated. Mutations of either gene can cause reduced brain size.
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This is an interesting find and demonstrates that the human race is still evolving and developing. One of the "fact" that I was taught in school way
back in the day, evolution took millions of years in human beings. This was due to the length of our lifespan.
Evolution could be demonstrated in such creatures as fruit flies mainly due to their exteremely short lifespan.
It does bring two question to mind though, will our future progeny even consider us to be their true ancestors or just off shoots such has been
discussed about "Lucy". This I ask since their will be very little in similarity between our species.
The second question and one that I think will cause us the most problems today, the timing of the emergence of the new haplogroups occuring around
37,000 to 5,800 years ago, might give more "credence" to the young earth believers as this timing will coincide with with their belief that "Man" was
created around 6,000 years ago.