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At what rate are humans still evolving?

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posted on Sep, 6 2006 @ 09:43 PM
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Evolution occurs as a response to different stimuli in an environment, in order to better suit itself. We can visually observe some differences in the last 300 years in body type, and height... although, we are coming to an age where medical advancements can fix our problems, our bodies can be perfected to maximum efficiency w/o an environment, but weight lifting and protein shakes. Is there a chance that humans eventually could break the mold and remain the same for an extended period of time? I'm actually asking this question, as I don't actually know... or theorize for that matter...

Discuss.




[edit on 6-9-2006 by alpha_omega]




posted on Sep, 6 2006 @ 10:43 PM
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Well I suppose we could always grow taller, live longer. Maybe we could learn to break protein down more efficiently or food down so that our living requirements go to a minimum. Things also like hearing, sight, maybe even a 6th sense could be evolved to a more extensive level. There are a million possibilities in my opinion, and I don't think that humans should be at the hand of it because nature is so much more....spontaneous.



posted on Sep, 6 2006 @ 10:50 PM
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Interesting topic, alpha_omega, but I think I see some flaws in your logic.

I don't think that it is possible to measure the "rate" of human evolution; evolution is the perpetuation of benefitial genetic mutations, and - although IANAEB (I Am Not An Evolutionary Biologist) - I would imagine that different groups of humans are perpetuating different mutations at different rates, making any "average" species-wide rate-of-change calculation almost impossibly complicated. On the other hand, while I have no background in this field, and no data to backup the following claim, I imagine that with a large enough group of DNA samples, collected over several generations from many different cohorts across all parts of the globe, it probably would be possible to calculate an average species-wide rate of genetic mutation - but, as you note, that isn't the same thing as the rate of evolution.

Part of the problem with studying evolution in humans is that we more often than not change our environment to suit ourselves, rather than changing to suit our environment as seems to be the norm with most other species. Also, different groups of humans live lives that are radically different from one another - we have different homes, jobs, family groups, live in different climates, etc. - whereas in the rest of the animal kingdom all animals (at least of the same gender) generally have the same "jobs" as their peers, live in the same climate, family groups, etc.

While we can visually observe differences in human body type over the last few centuries, these changes are not necessarily due to evolution. Genes don't determine how tall, short, fat, thin, etc. we are - they just determine these characteristics to within a certain range. I'll give you a personal example.

My family history on both sides comes from the same general area of Germany, so for the purposes of this quick-and-dirty example any major regional differences in genetic heritage can be minimized. My grandfather, my father, and myself all have about the same build, bone structure, hair color, eye color, etc. My father, at 50, looks remarkably similar to my grandfather at the same age; I look much like my father did when he was in his 20's. We are, however, very different when it comes to height. I am 23 years old and 5'8. My father is 5'6, and before he began to shrink my grandfather topped out at 5'4.

Now, given our other physical similarities, there's probably no genetic reason that my grandfather and father couldn't both have grown to be 5'8. What is - again, in my opinion - a more likey explanation for this is that our understanding of health, nutrition, etc. has improved drastically in the 83 years since my grandfather was an infant. Throughout my entire life I have had access to more - and higher quality - medicine, vitamins, nutritional information, and the like than either my father or grandfather ever did.

To answer your final question, I don't think that there is going to be a point where humans "break the mold and remain the same for an extended period of time". Given the advances in genetics we have seen recently I have no doubt that, within my lifetime, humans will have altered their own genes to a greater extent than nature would have in a hundred generations.



posted on Sep, 6 2006 @ 10:52 PM
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good subject to bring up.
i hate to say this out-loud, but i have wondered how alcohol has played its part in evolution now that it's been around for 3000+ years. (you seriously have to take that in account in its role in history and 'us')
i fear that the change of our environment is way more rapid than what our natural evo could be to accommodate it, but then again, i've been blown away at how fast certain species has been able to adapt to climate and other changes in environment in able to survive. really good topic mate. (does this relate to "quickening"??? at all or is that something totally different?)
-b



posted on Sep, 6 2006 @ 11:24 PM
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We will never stop evolving.You can look at pictures from 100 year's and see it,people in general seem alot more attractive nowaday's.We are obviously getting more intelligent considering our technology compared to 100 years ago.We seem to be alot more athletic as far as sports go(steroids or not).There is alot more things but i dont feel like posting them.



posted on Sep, 7 2006 @ 12:05 AM
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Originally posted by Samblack
We will never stop evolving.You can look at pictures from 100 year's and see it,people in general seem alot more attractive nowaday's.We are obviously getting more intelligent considering our technology compared to 100 years ago.We seem to be alot more athletic as far as sports go(steroids or not).There is alot more things but i dont feel like posting them.

Well, I more or so wish to push in the direction of the possibility of maxing out or stopping the stimuli that provoke evolution. Is it possible for humans to do this?



Great responses guys! I'll be thinking about this overnight, and I'll post up a good reply tomarrow.



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 05:05 AM
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yes Zoop alcohol has caused humans to evole in different ways,

Asia evolved boiling their water to be safe while europeans used alcohol to kill germs in drinking water and over time they developed genes to break down alcohol
thats why menny asian cant drink much,

the last great leap in evolution was the height leap in europeans,apparently,
but we are still all basicly african man,

i had a very philsophical debate with a friend after we had taken douzens of magic mushrooms, and at the time we both thought we were the hight in evolution,
were prob not cos were not supermen but we are competely suited for our enviroment.

evolution is one hell of a subject, how long have humans been around 5million years? the earth is 4 billion, so it looks like evolution happens quite quickly in cosmalogical terms,

if theres more stars than grains of sand on all the worlds beaches, and looking at revised drake equations i think there is no dout there is life far more advanced than us and we still have a long way to go.



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 07:28 PM
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We're taller because of better nutrition.



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 07:33 PM
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First i think we must be certain....that we are in fact evolving!!, each time i see the TV news, i always start to doubt if we are realy evolving

just my 2 cents.



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 07:40 PM
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So we are in fact evolving.

Uhhhh okay?



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 08:01 PM
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Originally posted by Umbra Sideralis
First i think we must be certain....that we are in fact evolving!!, each time i see the TV news, i always start to doubt if we are realy evolving


Yeah, seriously.

As far as humans being more athletic than in ages past I'd have to very much disagree. Long ago most professions involved physical labor. Today, most people sit on their butts all day as part of their jobs, and even the more labor-intensive professions use modern technology to help out the laborers. I don't know the facts for the entire planet, but the obesity/overweight percentage of people in the US is over 60% - something I'd never believe because most people I see are in fine shape - but watch Judge Judy or something... nobody on that show is "athletic"


Back in the "olden days" being chubby was a sign that you were well-to-do, but these days it is a sign that a person is poor. Healthy food is almost always more expensive than junk food (some think McDonalds and the fast food industry are part of a huge global conspiracy to kill off the lower classes... )

Of course, we're taller and live longer because of better eating habits and advances in medicine, but I'm not an evolutionary biologist either so this could only be part of it. As far as being more intelligent "because of new technology" I'd wouldn't be sure we're more intelligent, but we are certainly better informed and knowledge is much more easily disseminated. Again, these are a laymen's observations.

As far as people being more physically attractive, that's hard to say because in the scheme of things, photography is still a very young technology/art. But in going with the old philosophy of "bigger is better" just take a look at what was once considered beautiful - Marilyn Monroe... These days we'd consider her too short and too fat to even be a model... So I guess I can agree with that. Probably isn't "evolution" though.



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 08:03 PM
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OMG YES! WE'RE EVOLVING! X-MEN R TEH TRU!



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 08:45 PM
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~~

let me question the Logic here...

because each generation is getting taller, bigger, etc, that means we're evolving?

what about pygmies, and the recently discovered remains of 'Hobbit' peoples?
were they De-Volving???

evolution is not (imho) a relevant item...the variation of species is at play here (imho)



posted on Sep, 9 2006 @ 06:42 PM
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its a very unpopular theory, but I believe pediatric medicine is all but eliminating human evolution, because more genes make it to breeding age that otherwise would have been selected for death.

go a. and flame me, just a theory anyway



posted on Sep, 9 2006 @ 07:15 PM
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i think we are 'evolving' but not efficiently. For example, "Survival of the Fittest" (ie Darwins theory) has gone a bit corrupt in humans, because, it does show that we help the 'unfit' to survive and breed. For example. Someone with a simple genetic disease, maybe a family that is vulnerable to lung problems and asthma, many of the offspring could have died at the age of 6, therefore eliminating the inherited asthma from the genepool, but instead they survive due to our knowledge of how to keep them alive. I don't think you see behaviour this in many other species. This is probably why there are a lot of people being born with genetic related problems. Also, there will be another effect. we will evolve into our own world, as we create it. For example, people who are clever enough (due to certain genetic characteristics) not to do something really silly (like put their . into a fan) will more likely survive and pass these more intelligent characteristic onto their offspring. (sort of elaborated on syrinx's view here, however im saying evolution will continue in 'unnatural' ways).



posted on Sep, 9 2006 @ 09:55 PM
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we are going through survival of the fittest now, however this isn't natural selection (unless you count the jackass impersonation deaths/darwin award winners), we've moved into the realm of sexual selection

in essence, women will be governing the course of evolution by choosing who gets to produce offspring



posted on Sep, 9 2006 @ 10:26 PM
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I cant wait to get me some bionic parts maybe a eye, or windows vista loaded into my brain that's were we are evolving into. and by the way why is there no fat aliens



posted on Sep, 10 2006 @ 02:09 AM
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Originally posted by alpha_omega
Evolution occurs as a response to different stimuli in an environment, in order to better suit itself. We can visually observe some differences in the last 300 years in body type, and height... although, we are coming to an age where medical advancements can fix our problems, our bodies can be perfected to maximum efficiency w/o an environment, but weight lifting and protein shakes. Is there a chance that humans eventually could break the mold and remain the same for an extended period of time? I'm actually asking this question, as I don't actually know... or theorize for that matter...

Discuss.




[edit on 6-9-2006 by alpha_omega]


What if a more evolved humanoid was living amonst all of us right this moment as we speak?

What if these persons have been amonst humans for thousands of years?

What would people think?


Ahh thats just the science fiction in me.

When you think of evolution you need to think not upgrading of a current species but rather an evolution through mutations(talking minds) for example. All the cybernetics in the world wouldnt get you past 100. No one needs to live that long the human body was never ment for it. Extension of any species would always happen immortality set in. Im talking a complete evolution of the entire species.

Im talking ape-biped type increases in inteligence.



posted on Sep, 10 2006 @ 04:39 AM
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Originally posted by syrinx high priest
its a very unpopular theory, but I believe pediatric medicine is all but eliminating human evolution, because more genes make it to breeding age that otherwise would have been selected for death.

go a. and flame me, just a theory anyway


Well, it's not eliminating it, it's just eliminating portions of it. As stated previously, sexual selection is still very predominant, and what are the primary factors of that? Some women check the shoes first then the butt which tells me that women are more interested is successful men with fat wallets then they are guys who are just attractive but dirt poor. More successful men usually are smarter as well so in a sense, the chances of them breeding a smarter or just as smart child(children) are slightly improved. Sideeffects of this are genetic corruption because they aren't looking for the fastest and the fittest as would a women growing up in a hunter gatherer society would do.

Frankely, I think we are gonna see a quickening of evolution in the coming decades as we get a better handle on genetics, proteomics and bionics. Some of these things will be counted as evolutionary because they will be hereditary. Others will be just modifications that may or may not be swappable and upgradable.

[edit on 10-9-2006 by sardion2000]



posted on Sep, 10 2006 @ 09:56 AM
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When you think of evolution you need to think not upgrading of a current species but rather an evolution through mutations(talking minds) for example.


Huh? I don't really follow your train of thought.



All the cybernetics in the world wouldnt get you past 100.


Why do you think that? Wouldn't an implant designed to churn out replacement cells/proteans/compounds have the effect of prolonging life? Wouldn't replacing the Heart and Lungs with synthetic replacements designed to last hundreds of years eliminate deaths due to Heart and Lung disease? Do you even know what Cybernetics is and the way it's going in the future?



No one needs to live that long the human body was never ment for it.


Our bodies were also not meant to Read, Write, or Type. They were never designed to travel faster then their own legs nor fly in the sky. Humans do lots of things that our bodies were never meant to do, like experience free-fall for months at a time. Just what is your point?



Extension of any species would always happen immortality set in. Im talking a complete evolution of the entire species.


Huh? Complete evolution doesn't exist or happen. Populations change over time due to climatic fluctuations and their isolation from one another prompts speciation(all goverened by Natural Selection). Why would extinction happen when "immortality" sets in?

[edit on 10-9-2006 by sardion2000]




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