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Are humans still evolving?

  1. Feb 29, 2004 #1
    The primary force behind evolution is natural selection yes? What happens when you take away natural selection as we have?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 29, 2004 #2
    Evolution is more predominant in a novel environment. Most mutations which happen today will be deletirous.

    Nautica
     
  4. Feb 29, 2004 #3
    If we eventually gain a mastery over genetics, wouldn't we be able control of our own evolution?
     
  5. Mar 1, 2004 #4
    Hmm Deeviant, do you really believe 100% that humans have taken away away "natural selection" or is it that our natural selection has just morphed into something unseen by the animal kingdom before this.

    Instead of "survival of the fittest" we now kinda work on "survival of the weakest." Doesn't this simply mean a new turmn to evolution??
     
  6. Mar 1, 2004 #5

    selfAdjoint

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    We have to ask "is variation still happening?" Yes it is. point mutations of single nucliedes are going on all the time.

    Then we should ask, "Is selection still happening?" That is happening too. Not everyone leaves offspring.

    Evolution doesn't care about what we want to become, it doesn't care about anything, it's just a natural process. What will be will be.
     
  7. Mar 1, 2004 #6
    I really do think humans in the modern countries(non-3rd world) have mostly eliminated natural selection. The only other evolutionary force I can think of is the developement of our knowledge base, a sort of intellectual evolution.
     
  8. Mar 1, 2004 #7

    Phobos

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    Although I agree that our technology/etc. can slow the pace of natural selection, I think we're far from being free of natural selection. Consider hunger, natural disasters, & disease in the U.S. alone. Also consider that a huge fraction of the world population is not in "1st world" countries. Even without natural selection, there's still sexual selection, recombination, gene flow...

    Also check out this PhysicsPost article on the subject by a fellow PF mentor...
    http://www.physicspost.com/articles.php?articleId=172
     
  9. Mar 1, 2004 #8
    Thanks phobos, great info :smile:
     
  10. Mar 2, 2004 #9
    I doubt very much natural selection has been mostly eliminated.

    Most pregnancies after all abort at a very early stage. So early that it is often goes unnoticed.

    That is just one example of selection.
     
  11. Mar 2, 2004 #10

    Phobos

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    Really? Link/reference?
     
  12. Mar 3, 2004 #11
    Ah, links make things true.


    are humans still evolving:

    Link 1

    Link 2
     
  13. Mar 3, 2004 #12
    Maybe, he should have used the word "many" instead of "most"

    Nautica
     
  14. Mar 3, 2004 #13

    Phobos

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    No, of course not. But I had not heard that statement before and I find it quite extraordinary, so I was curious to see some info about it. Those links did not seem to do it.
     
  15. Mar 3, 2004 #14

    selfAdjoint

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    I have seen statements over the years that from a fifth to a quarter of all human zygotes are KNOWN to spontaineously abort, and that an unknown fraction will fail to attach to the womb and be ejected without any symptoms. Sorry, no links, but it certainly should be easy to verify, since (so I have heard) it's "common wisdom" in the reproductive medicine community.
     
  16. Mar 3, 2004 #15
    Like I stated earlier: "many" not "most"

    Nautica
     
  17. Mar 3, 2004 #16

    chroot

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    I'm pretty sure that half of all pregnancies that manage to implant in the uterine wall also end in miscarriage.

    In any event, we have not eliminated natural selection -- only changed which factors are involved in the selection.

    - Warren
     
  18. Mar 4, 2004 #17

    Phobos

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    Amazing. Between that and the difficulties in growing up & finding a mate...it's amazing that we haven't gone extinct yet. Any idea if this is typical for other mammalian species?

    I'll have to spend some time with Google.
     
  19. Mar 4, 2004 #18
    Evolution would be gone if that happened. Genetic engineering isn't evolution to me.

    As for another comment about only deleterious evolution. Look no further than weight problems and eye sight. Both continue to get worse, and while this isn't an "evolved" trait, it certainly has a similar factor.
     
  20. Mar 4, 2004 #19

    Phobos

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    I think it would be a new mechanism of evolution that would operate in addition to the existing mechanisms (unless we did 100% control of gene reproduction on every individual).

    A genetic predisposition for poor eyesight or obeisity can be an inherited trait. But you're right that damage/lack of care to the body during people's lifetimes is not an evolved trait.
     
  21. Mar 8, 2004 #20
    So long as people still want to breed with better looking people, people who are smarter or have better personalities and people with more money, we're still be evolving toward whatever traits people find attractive in a mate.
     
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