Are humans still evolving?

Yep, according to a study coming out in PNAS and supported by NESCent.
(As usual, the news comes out before the PNAS article is actually available, so I can’t comment on the study).

Are Humans Still Evolving? Absolutely, Says A New Analysis Of A Long-term Survey Of Human Health

Byars, S., D. Ewbank, et al. (2009). Natural selection in a contemporary human population. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106, in press.


2 comments to Are humans still evolving?

  • Everyone repeat after me: “Evolution is not the same as natural selection.” Corollary, “Evolution is not the same as positive natural selection.”
    All populations evolve by random genetic drift. In mammals it is by far the predominant mechanism of evolution. There’s no way to prevent evolution by random genetic drift except by preventing mutations. Mutations have not been prevented in humans; therefore, humans are evolving.
    The very question, “Are humans still evolving?” reveals a profound misunderstanding of evolution. Don’t you agree?
     

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    • I agree that it would have been better to phrase the question as whether humans are still under selection, since that’s the potentially contentious question (given that drift is inevitable) and the one that people mean anyway.

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