MadSci Network: Evolution

Re: What is the expectation about evoluation of people?

Date: Fri Jan 16 04:20:47 1998
Posted By: Dr. David Smerken, unemployed Ph.D., BIOANTHROPOLOGY, DNA
Area of science: Evolution
ID: 884180162.Ev

S. van den Berg:

In regard to your question about the expectation of the evolution of 
people, I believe first that there is no doubt that we humans continue to 
evolve.  However, becoming bigger or smaller in the future implies a 
directionality which is just not present in reality.  There is no reason to 
to think that evolution entails progression.  For example, in the case of 
cranial capacity, there has been no increase since the Paleolithic.  In 
fact, Neandertals had a larger cranial capacity than modern humans.

Yet, there are numerous evolutionary pressures on modern humans, albeit 
they are different ones than existed in the past.  Most scientists think 
that the environment is changing in big ways--ozone depletion, bigger el 
ninos, world temperatures on the rise...

Beyond this, consider the rise of new diseases like AIDS, new staff 
infections which immune to our antibiotics, Bird Flu etc.  Certainly some 
humans will be more immune to these things than others.

I believe that in America the sickle cell alleles are gradually decreasing 
compared to in Africa because there does not exist the environmental 
pressure to have the alleles.  Evolution continues for us humans as it does 
for all living things.

Dr. Dave

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