Tap to Read ➤

Are Humans Still Evolving?

Shashank Nakate Oct 29, 2020
The process of evolution in humans continues even today. Though, it takes place at a slow pace, which is why, we cannot notice evolutionary changes in a short span of time. Nevertheless, modern-day humans continue to evolve, and the signs of human evolution are listed here.

Greater Genetic Unity

One of the reasons why it is assumed that human evolution stopped long back is because humans possess greater genetic unity than most species. However, forces of nature continue to shape human traits and characteristics through evolutionary changes.
Evolution is a process which takes places continuously. In fact, according to the 'Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium', changes which take place due to evolution are a mathematical necessity. These changes may get interrupted or influenced only by mutations, natural selection, gene flow, or non-random mating.
As per research conducted in the University of Sheffield, humans continue to evolve even today. Therefore, the law of 'survival-of-the-fittest' applies to modern-day humans as well. If we think about it, the fact that humans are evolving even today shouldn't be surprising at all.
Humans, just like any other species on the Earth, are subject to the forces of nature. So, it is but natural that humans are still evolving physically and biologically. It would be interesting to find out how the process of evolution continues to influence human beings.

Signs of Human Evolution

The different signs of human evolution are listed below. Explanations pertaining to these signs should help us understand in a better manner, the ongoing process of evolution in humans.
Practicing Agriculture
Cultivation has been the turning point of the human evolutionary process. It has had a great impact on the behavior, social life, and many other aspects of human life.
The 4 aspects of human life which have been greatly affected by agriculture are - survival to adulthood, access to mates, mating success, and fertility per mate. Also, surplus food produced through agriculture has secured humans from the ills of life faced by those leading a nomadic life.
Thus, it is with no doubt that agriculture has influenced the process of the evolutionary of humans to a great extent.
Resisting Heart Diseases
Future human beings would be more resistant to heart diseases. It is observed that heart diseases affect modern-day humans the most.
Consuming foods which contain high amount of fats is the reason behind this. In the course of evolution, the fittest organisms survive. Therefore, future humans would be better adapted as to dealing with these kinds of ailments.
Differences of Races
In today's world, the mixing of genes between populations from around the world takes place at a fast pace. Earlier, due to limitations of transportation, the interaction between different populations of the world was much lesser.
Today, the interaction between the isolated populations of the world too has increased. Genetic differences observed in different races would eventually disappear with time, due to the fact of more and more interracial breeding.
Losing Wisdom Teeth
The size of our jaws are smaller as compared to those of our ancestors. This reduction in size is the result of the process of evolution. The reason behind this is that, modern-day humans mostly eat food that is easy to chew.
The result of the shrinking in size of the jaws is that, the wisdom teeth would gradually turn into vestigial organs. To put it simply, there is no space left in our jaws to accommodate wisdom teeth. It is estimated that 35% of the population will not develop wisdom teeth.
Brain Shrinkage
The human brain is continuously shrinking over the past 30,000 years. In the past 5,000 years alone, the size of our brain has shrunk from 1,500 cubic centimeters to 1,350 cubic centimeters. Different theories interpret changes taking place in the brain in different ways.
Some of these theories suggest that the shrinking of the brain has made us dumber. However, there also are theories which state that reduction in the size of brain is making our brain work faster.
It means that the brain fits in a smaller place and also works at a faster pace in a better manner.
Blue Eyes
Earlier, all human beings had brown-colored eyes. It was 10,000 years ago that humans developed a mutation which turned their brown eyes blue. People residing in the regions near the Black Sea are said to have developed these mutations. This is simply a form of evolution.

Other Signs

Humans possess lesser hair on their bodies in comparison to apes - their hominid ancestors. The modern-day lifestyle of humans would lessen body hair even more as time goes by.
The availability of air conditioning technology has rendered the natural body insulators, i.e. body hair virtually practically useless. The availability of various tools and machines has made modern-day humans physically less active.
Today, we don't have to indulge into physical work as much as our ancestors had to. Therefore, future humans would become increasingly weak in terms of physical strength.
The phenomenon of evolution continues to affect all forms of life on the Earth. The pace of evolution in humans has increased since we started practicing agriculture. The age of machines has caused humans to lead a relatively comfortable life, where the physical stress experienced is much lesser.
The process of evolution in humans is dependent on environmental factors, as well as the choices made while interacting with the surroundings.