Has our technology affected our evolution; and vice versa?

  • Thread starter hl_world
  • Start date
  • #1
49
0

Main Question or Discussion Point

It seems likely to me since the first tools we used as primates-early man. Think about it, those early, pre-homosapien primates who have mutated an inheritable trait which makes them smart enough to discover the benefits of rocks, sticks etc. to enhance their ability to gather food will therefore survive longer to have more offspring (more of the better) than those without the trait. The evolutionary process continues to favour the idea of tool use, making more advantageous cognitive-related mutations possible, the primates get smarter, improvements to tools are made, natural objects better suited for tools are collected and used and new types of tools are made. And so it goes on.

Something like this I not only suggest affects the progress of the human genome positively (human brain) but also negatively like our lack of body hair from clothes and I read somewhere that because of our use of fire to cook food from millions of years ago, the enzymes in our digestive systems have been altered.

I think this also means because of prosthetics, the importance of keeping our natural teeth decreases and so future generations will suffer less dental pain.

Your thoughts?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Ygggdrasil
Science Advisor
Insights Author
Gold Member
2019 Award
3,051
2,718
That's probably true in theory, but we're likely not going to be able to observe this change. Evolution (for humans) occurs on the scale of millions of year and it would take many generations for a trait to spread throughout the entire human race (esp because only certain populations have access to regular dental care and fake teeth). Furthermore, the process would also be slow because there is no strong selective pressure against traits promoting healthy teeth.
 
  • #3
arildno
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
9,970
132
I think this also means because of prosthetics, the importance of keeping our natural teeth decreases and so future generations will suffer less dental pain.

Your thoughts?
Quite the reverse, I'd say, if any effect at all.

Since today, there are no selective disadvantage in having "weak teeth", due to our ability to alleviate problems with it, nor will there be any sort of adaptive disadvantage of having bad teeth-genes.

Thus, bad teeth-genes are NOT going to be selected away by natural selection.
 
  • #4
Borek
Mentor
28,446
2,841
I think that statistical weakening of the teeth was the first symptom of emerging civilisation, and I am deadly serious.
 
Last edited:
  • #5
arildno
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
9,970
132
I think that statistical weakening of the teeth was the first symptom of emerging civilisation, and I am deadly serious.
Well, I'd rather say that the weakening of our immune system towards worms/parasites commonly found in uncooked flesh pre-dates the weakening of teeth.

If the utilization of fire to cook food should be regarded as a sign of emerging civilization, that is.
 
  • #6
Borek
Mentor
28,446
2,841
Well, I'd rather say that the weakening of our immune system towards worms/parasites commonly found in uncooked flesh pre-dates the weakening of teeth.

If the utilization of fire to cook food should be regarded as a sign of emerging civilization, that is.
Good point, but we are obviously thinking on the same wavelength here.
 
  • #7
100
1
well, there's some speculation that supplementing our diet with folate is altering natural selection. and tolerance for dairy is higher in peoples who raised cows, if you want to consider agriculture a technology (i'd say it is).

Med Hypotheses. 2008 Sep;71(3):406-10. Epub 2008 Jun 2.Click here to read Links
Has enhanced folate status during pregnancy altered natural selection and possibly Autism prevalence? A closer look at a possible link.
Rogers EJ.

University of Massachusetts Lowell, Clinical Laboratory and Nutritional Sciences, Lowell, MA 01854, United States. Eugene_Rogers@uml.edu

The inverse association between maternal folate status and incidence of infants born with neural tube defects (NTD's) was recognized over twenty years ago and led the US health agencies in the early 1990s to recommend that women of childbearing age consume 400 microg of folic acid each day. The FDA followed by mandating that certain foods be fortified with folic acid and this has resulted in a significant enhancement of maternal folate status to levels that are often difficult to otherwise achieve naturally. At least one study indicates that this has decreased the incidence of NTD's. However, this same time period directly coincides with what many feel is the apparent beginning and continuous increase in the prevalence of Autism and related Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD's) in the US. Are these similar time frames of changes in maternal folate status and possible Autism prevalence a random event or has improved maternal (and fetal) folate status during pregnancy played a role? It is not only plausible but highly likely. A particular polymorphic form to a key enzyme required to activate folate for methylation in neurodevelopment, 5-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR), demonstrates reduced activity under low or normal folate levels but normal activity under conditions of higher folate nutritional status. A consequence of the presence of the polymorphic form of this enzyme during normal or reduced folate status are higher plasma homocysteine levels than noncarriers and the combination of these factors have been shown in several studies to result in an increase rate of miscarriage via thrombotic events. However, the incidence of hyperhomocysteinemia in the presence of the polymorphism is reduced under the common condition of enhanced folate status and thereby masks the latent adverse effects of the presence of this enzyme form during pregnancy. Of great importance is that this polymorphism, although common in the normal population, is found in significantly higher frequency in Autisic individuals. It is hypothesized here that the enhancement of maternal folate status before and during pregnancy in the last 15 years has altered natural selection by increasing survival rates during pregnancy of infants possessing the MTHFR C677T polymorphism, via reduction in hyperhomocysteinemia associated with this genotype and thereby miscarriage rates. This also points directly to an increased rate of births of infants with higher postnatal requirements for folic acid needed for normal methylation during this critical neurodevelopmental period. If these numbers have increased then so have the absolute number of infants that after birth fail to maintain the higher folate status experienced in utero thus leading to an increased number of cases of developmental disorders such as Autism. Detection of the C677T polymorphism as well as other methionine cycle enzymes related to folate metabolism and methylation at birth as part of newborn screening programs could determine which newborns need be monitored and maintained on diets or supplements that ensure adequate folate status during this critical postnatal neurodevelopment period.

PMID: 18514430 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
 

Related Threads on Has our technology affected our evolution; and vice versa?

  • Last Post
Replies
9
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
10
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
10
Views
3K
Replies
1
Views
2K
Replies
1
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
21
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
22
Views
3K
Top