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Nature & Environment

Have humans stopped evolving ?

By T.K. Randall
September 10, 2013 · Comment icon 63 comments



Attenborough's nature documentaries have made him a household name. Image Credit: CC 3.0 Mike Dixson
Naturalist Sir David Attenborough believes that natural selection in humans has all but stopped.
Attenborough contends that biological evolution in humans has ended because the advances of the modern age have enabled us to raise even the weakest of our kind, even those with health problems that under any other circumstances would have prevented them from surviving. In essence, natural selection no longer applies.
"We stopped natural selection as soon as we started being able to rear 95–99 per cent of our babies that are born," he said. "We are the only species to have put a halt to natural selection, of its own free will, as it were. Stopping natural selection is not as important, or as depressing, as it might sound - because our evolutionary process is now cultural."

The 87-year-old also expressed gratitude for having lived in the present as he fears future generations will experience far more problems than those alive today. "I have all kinds of pleasures and luxuries that I appreciate and I’m very, very fortunate," he said. "But I think that in another 100 years people will look back at a world that was less crowded, full of natural wonders, and healthier."

Source: Telegraph | Comments (63)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #54 Posted by mumanster 9 years ago
"Round and round the 'Merry - go - round' and up and down we go... One step, two steps and nobody's in the know" But I think the Creationists have got it partially right, something made us...(insert X-files music) Something pulled us down from the trees and re-engineered us...several times... So Sapiens is the last of a line that may continue to be 'improved' upon but evolved? Nah, in your dreams Speaking of which....Hows the new theory that Australian Aborigines were the original template for us all? Cool beans in my view... (*sets the kindling up and withdraws into the dark* do do do do..x2 ... [More]
Comment icon #55 Posted by Uncle Sam 9 years ago
Technology and Culture Adaptation is evolution. It is an evolutional step that all sentinel life goes through, basically we take the best of culture and technology, we add it to our lives to make it easier. Unlike natural evolution, we have control of when and how things happen. Difference between them that natural evolution effects our bodies while social and technical evolution effects how we interact with the world. Natural Evolution of humans is still happening, just on a smaller scale, our evolution just slowed down to a crawl compared to other animals that are currently evolving at a muc... [More]
Comment icon #56 Posted by spacecowboy342 9 years ago
Technology and Culture Adaptation is evolution. It is an evolutional step that all sentinel life goes through, basically we take the best of culture and technology, we add it to our lives to make it easier. Unlike natural evolution, we have control of when and how things happen. Difference between them that natural evolution effects our bodies while social and technical evolution effects how we interact with the world. Natural Evolution of humans is still happening, just on a smaller scale, our evolution just slowed down to a crawl compared to other animals that are currently evolving at a muc... [More]
Comment icon #57 Posted by cormac mac airt 9 years ago
Oh like we have evidence for evolution of anatomicly modern human? My advice is to you do some reading. Voodoo, 'anatomically modern humans' comprises the entirety of the last c.200,000 years. Absolutely, we have evidence of evolution in humans in that timeframe. Genetically we've evolved from one maternal or paternal haplogroup to dozens. In some groups we've also evolved the ability to process lactose, making those individuals more lactose tolerant. As well as some blond hair, or blue eyes or lighter/white skin. Our lower jaws and musculature aren't as robust as they once were either as we n... [More]
Comment icon #58 Posted by Rolci 9 years ago
Oh like we have evidence for evolution of anatomicly modern human? My advice is to you do some reading. Assuming you meant "anatomically" (-cly doesn't look like a typo to me) my reply would be to suggest you do the same. http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/34194/title/Humans-Adapt-to-Icy-Life/ to help get you kickstarted. And when you've done enough reading maybe you'll learn to spell too!
Comment icon #59 Posted by danielost 9 years ago
Evolution hasn't stopped at all, humans haven't gained control over the process we've only had a hundred years of modern technology, less than a hundred years knowledge of DNA and less than a hundred years of birth control. Given that there hasn't been enough time to bring evolution under any real control aside from minor adjustments here and there. One pandemic on the order of the Spanish flu (or worse) could knock all of human society back to the dark ages in a matter of months. I don't see where our grasp of evolution is so much in our control as much as we like to think. Your wrong. We mad... [More]
Comment icon #60 Posted by danielost 9 years ago
Voodoo, 'anatomically modern humans' comprises the entirety of the last c.200,000 years. Absolutely, we have evidence of evolution in humans in that timeframe. Genetically we've evolved from one maternal or paternal haplogroup to dozens. In some groups we've also evolved the ability to process lactose, making those individuals more lactose tolerant. As well as some blond hair, or blue eyes or lighter/white skin. Our lower jaws and musculature aren't as robust as they once were either as we no longer require such for chewing the tougher food items as we once did. All of these are evolutionary c... [More]
Comment icon #61 Posted by danielost 9 years ago
Technology and Culture Adaptation is evolution. It is an evolutional step that all sentinel life goes through, basically we take the best of culture and technology, we add it to our lives to make it easier. Unlike natural evolution, we have control of when and how things happen. Difference between them that natural evolution effects our bodies while social and technical evolution effects how we interact with the world. Natural Evolution of humans is still happening, just on a smaller scale, our evolution just slowed down to a crawl compared to other animals that are currently evolving at a muc... [More]
Comment icon #62 Posted by danielost 9 years ago
Great point bro! But only if you lived in a cave, with no access to educational books, the internet or even a dictionary. However, you don't live in a cave. Such a mentally malnourished stance is utterly inexcusable, given the materials that are at your fingertips. They are not both theories. And they do not have the same amount of "fact" behind them. Do some reading. Evolution has as much true evidence behind it as religion does, NONE. That is macro evolution. Micro evolution can take place in seven years or thousands of years. There is no evidence that fish produced frogs. Someone in another... [More]
Comment icon #63 Posted by spacecowboy342 9 years ago
Evolution has as much true evidence behind it as religion does, NONE. That is macro evolution. Micro evolution can take place in seven years or thousands of years. There is no evidence that fish produced frogs. Someone in another thread produced a dot turning from red to blue to show evolution at work. It was a good example of micro evolution. Macro evolution would be turning it from a period to a question mark. At some point it stops being a period and becomes a question mark in one generation. The only difference between your so called micro and macro evolution is the time scales involved. M... [More]


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