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Has our technology affected our evolution; and vice versa?

  1. Nov 25, 2008 #1
    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?
     
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  3. Nov 25, 2008 #2

    Ygggdrasil

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    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.
     
  4. Nov 29, 2008 #3

    arildno

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    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.
     
  5. Nov 29, 2008 #4

    Borek

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    I think that statistical weakening of the teeth was the first symptom of emerging civilisation, and I am deadly serious.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2008
  6. Nov 29, 2008 #5

    arildno

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    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.
     
  7. Nov 29, 2008 #6

    Borek

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    Good point, but we are obviously thinking on the same wavelength here.
     
  8. Nov 30, 2008 #7
    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).

     
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