Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols
Arts
43 views
43 views

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols

Kate Dennett - October 12, 2018
University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week
Arts
88 views
88 views

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week

Kate Dennett - October 6, 2018
Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin
Interview
76 views
76 views

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin

Alex Leissle - October 4, 2018
Why we should all embrace drag
Lifestyle
106 views
106 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018
In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
140 views
140 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018
Brighton Needs You!
News
107 views
107 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018
Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
242 views
242 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
185 views
185 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
197 views
197 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
226 views
226 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
Joe Armon-Jones Brings Jazz to Patterns
Music
31 views
31 views

Joe Armon-Jones Brings Jazz to Patterns

Lara Antoine - October 13, 2018
299 Views
1 Comments

Have humans stopped evolving?

In a time where survival of the fittest means relatively nothing and most humans live to procreate despite illness, poverty and infertility, scientists are asking themselves the question: are we still evolving or have we come to an evolutionary standstill?

Evolution was pioneered by the renowned scientist Charles Darwin in his book The Origin of Species and defined as the theory that groups of organisms change with passage of time, mainly as a result of natural selection, so that descendants differ morphologically and physiologically from their ancestors. In the case of humans, the theory suggests that we descend from African ape ancestors. Many fossils including the infamous “Lucy” fossil of a complete body found in Ethiopia in 1974 dating back 3.2 million years old are evidence of this theory.

As is well known, evolution is accountable for many characteristic human traits, such as bipedalism (walking on two feet) and opposable thumbs. From a biological point of view, evolution is the change in genetic material of a population of organisms from one generation to the next. This means that very small alterations in Human DNA (called mutations) occur from one generation to the next which can, over time, lead to a substantial change in the population’s genetic data. This can thus lead to the formation of different species. Although there has been much debate as to how evolution functions, a number of genetic mechanisms can now be held accountable for these changes. The first is natural selection, which is the process by which beneficial mutations enhance a population’s reproducibility and increase their change of survival. It follows three simple rules: heritability, variation and survival. The other is genetic drift is the change in allele frequency from one generation to the next due to random sampling. It is a totally random mechanism.

As to the topic in question: are humans still evolving? Although there are opposing views on the subject – some scientist say we stopped evolving around 50,000 years ago when modern humans and culture began to emerge – it is quite difficult to completely deny that we humans still under the influence of evolution. It has been discussed and famously argued by geneticist Steve Jones that the process of natural selection has been undermined by modern technology. The survival of the fittest is not longer applicable, as almost everyone is likely to survive to reproductive age and procreate. Others argue that natural selection no longer has a direct effect on physical survival but that the “fittest” individuals can be described by their intellect. This theory is supported by writer Christopher Wills and the discovery in 2005 by Bruce Lahn of two supposedly new genes involved in brain development. Some, including the evolutionary biologist Steven Pinker, would even argue that technology has created “reverse evolution”. This means the “weaker” traits are no longer selected out of the human genome, possibly making us more susceptible to illness for example. Geoffrey Miller believes evolution is being driven by sexual selection and that by the means of assertive mating for intelligence, personality traits and health, new beneficial mutations are likely to be greatly selected for.

Some examples of the human gene pool currently evolving cannot be ignored. The discovery that a gene called CCR5-32 which can protect from the HIV-1 virus has greatly increased in parts of Africa where the disease is particularly widespread is one. Studies at the University of Chicago have shown that around 700 genes have been favoured by evolution over the past 15,000 years. These adaptations can be small, like genes increasing our ability to process lactose as the cow became more domesticated and the lightening of some Europeans skin in response to a general northward movement with less sunlight. Some very recent research (2009) by Stephen Sears has predicted the future women by studying some 14,000 women spanning three generations in Massachusetts. Following his findings, the future women will be shorter and curvier, be generally healthier and have higher fertility.

But there are some question marks which are difficult to answer. For instance, why has one form of the dopamine receptor gene developed a very high frequency in the human gene pool when it does not offer any beneficial mutations? On the contrary, it is associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder! A slightly more political view point is that many scientists including Pinker would rather believe that human evolution stopped thousands of years ago; guaranteeing that all racial and ethnic groups and still biologically equal.

At this point in time, most scientists will agree that yes, humans are still evolving, even if their definitions of evolution diverge. They also agree that is it impossible to predict the direction of evolution at this point in time. So whether we shall become futuristic cyborgs as suggested by Ray Kurzweil, simply more “beautiful, intelligent, symmetrical and healthy” as projected by Miller, develop a whole new species by colonising other planets as Wills point of view proposes or “befoul our planet that only an eccentric and hardy remnant of our species will remain” as proclaimed by Daniel Dennett is up to your personal view of our future as the human race.

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam
Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols
Arts
43 views
43 views

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols

Kate Dennett - October 12, 2018
University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week
Arts
88 views
88 views

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week

Kate Dennett - October 6, 2018
Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin
Interview
76 views
76 views

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin

Alex Leissle - October 4, 2018
Why we should all embrace drag
Lifestyle
106 views
106 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018
In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
140 views
140 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018
Brighton Needs You!
News
107 views
107 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018
Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
242 views
242 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
185 views
185 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
197 views
197 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
226 views
226 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
Joe Armon-Jones Brings Jazz to Patterns
Music
31 views
31 views

Joe Armon-Jones Brings Jazz to Patterns

Lara Antoine - October 13, 2018

One Comment

Leave a Reply to Michael Tombs Cancel reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols
Arts
43 views
Arts
43 views

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols

Kate Dennett - October 12, 2018

In celebration of Black History Month, Sussex Student Union organised a number of interesting talks and events across October. One of these exciting opportunities was a chance…

Review: Suzanne Ciani & Martin Messier at the ACCA
Film & Theatre
45 views
Film & Theatre
45 views

Review: Suzanne Ciani & Martin Messier at the ACCA

Anonymous - October 10, 2018

At the outset, Mr Messier’s FIELD at once invoked The Matrix and Daedalus’ Boiler Room set.  The basic concept of this mixed media performance relies on transducer…

Shelf Help: The Organisation Encouraging Self-Development
Arts
71 views
Arts
71 views

Shelf Help: The Organisation Encouraging Self-Development

Kate Dennett - October 10, 2018

To commemorate to this year’s Mental Health Awareness Day, I found it increasingly difficult to draw attention to just one book of relevance in recognition of this…

Freshers’ Week from a second year perspective
Campus News
67 views
Campus News
67 views

Freshers’ Week from a second year perspective

Chris Ahjem - October 9, 2018

Annually, the University of Sussex welcomes thousands of new students to our Falmer campus and every year the Student’s Union and Brighton based clubs and businesses increase…

National Badger Day: 10 fun facts you might not have known
News
104 views
News
104 views

National Badger Day: 10 fun facts you might not have known

Chris Ahjem - October 6, 2018

To celebrate National Badger Day here are 10 fun facts about our animal kingdom namesake Badgers can run up to 16-19 miles per hour which is the…

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week
Arts
88 views
Arts
88 views

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week

Kate Dennett - October 6, 2018

This coming week marks the celebration of Libraries Week, an event solely dedicated to praising the work of libraries across the UK. This annual event is taking…

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin
Interview
76 views
Interview
76 views

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin

Alex Leissle - October 4, 2018

The young star is often a tricky title to navigate. There are the big names, who explode into the world with noise, bright light, a big record…

How Fenty Beauty changed the face of the makeup industry
Lifestyle
102 views
Lifestyle
102 views

How Fenty Beauty changed the face of the makeup industry

Rachel Badham - October 3, 2018

Fenty Beauty, launched in September last year, is a makeup line created by global superstar Robyn Rihanna Fenty, better known as Rihanna. It’s not uncommon for celebrity…

Why we should all embrace drag
Lifestyle
106 views
Lifestyle
106 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018

Once an art form disregarded by many, 2018 bears witness to the continuous rise of drag as a legitimate, celebrated art. Spearheaded by RuPaul’s Drag Race, drag…

In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
140 views
Arts
140 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018

This week we had the pleasure of interviewing Alannah Myles, the 1991 Grammy winner for best female rock vocal performance for her outstanding vocal abilities for the…

Brighton Needs You!
News
107 views
News
107 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018

Brighton is a vibrant and thriving city that many students at Sussex are lucky enough to call home. But there are many in the area in need…

Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
242 views
Arts
242 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018

Starting university comes with both exciting but potentially daunting changes, with both moving away from home and studying at degree level posing to be two new challenges.…

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist
Film & Theatre
176 views
Film & Theatre
176 views

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist

Olek Młyński - September 18, 2018

One key film in the development of anyone who grew up in the early 2000s was The Incredibles (2004). It’s comedy, vibrancy, and general sense of fun…

France in Fine Fettle
Sports
185 views
Sports
185 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Prior to the start of the quadrennial tournament this summer, football fans across the world grew sceptical over Russia’s credentials and ability to host the most prestigious…

Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
197 views
Arts
197 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Boredom is impossible when you throw yourself into everything this weird and wonderful city has to offer. The specific and unique cultural wonders of Brighton are indeed…

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
226 views
Arts
226 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018

During this year’s Pride Festival, Brighton had the honour of welcoming international pop star and voice of the early 2000s, Britney Spears, to the main stage. Undoubtedly,…

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
1285 views1
Campus News
1285 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Joe Armon-Jones Brings Jazz to Patterns
Music
31 views
Music
31 views

Joe Armon-Jones Brings Jazz to Patterns

Lara Antoine - October 13, 2018

Photo by Vojta Dvrocek Whether you’ve seen him in Ezra Collective or featuring alongside other breakthrough neo-jazz artists like Mr Jukes. Pianist Joe Armon-Jones is no stranger…

“Climax” review – The return of the French provocateur
Arts
43 views
Arts
43 views

“Climax” review – The return of the French provocateur

Olek Młyński - October 11, 2018

The newest film from the notorious Gaspar Noé was so critically acclaimed at the Cannes Film Festival that the director himself could not believe it. Climax opens…

Kode9 & Burial – Fabriclive 100
Music
87 views
Music
87 views

Kode9 & Burial – Fabriclive 100

Ryan Bridgewater - October 5, 2018

Released 28th September Available on: CD/Vinyl/Download   The anticipation couldn’t have been greater when the final instalment in London nightclub Fabric’s legendary DJ mix series was announced…

News
65 views

Maniac: a madcap adventure into troubled minds

Olek Młyński - October 5, 2018

With the release of Maniac, Netflix once again proves itself as an artistic powerhouse. This mini-series is a whirlwind of creativity containing often confusing, madcap ideas. But,…

Nike cash in on Kaepernick campaign
Sports
65 views
Sports
65 views

Nike cash in on Kaepernick campaign

James Cohen - October 4, 2018

In 1988 Nike premiered their, now infamous, “Just Do It” campaign, showing 80-year-old Walt Stack jogging across the Golden Gate Bridge. 30 years and a lot of…

Machine Learning for an Efficient Future
Science
102 views
Science
102 views

Machine Learning for an Efficient Future

ecrm20 - October 4, 2018

My project is about how we can explain the predictions made by machine learning algorithms. For example, if we have an algorithm that tells us whether an…

Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar Due to Close
Music
114 views
Music
114 views

Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar Due to Close

Dan Miller - October 4, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35890" align="alignnone" width="4544"] Photo by Lara Antoine[/caption]   The surprising news was released via the venue’s Facebook page on Tuesday afternoon, announcing:    "There are far too many…

Where did you Come from Where did you Escargot?  Martlets Snailway appears in Brighton and Hove
News
97 views
News
97 views

Where did you Come from Where did you Escargot? Martlets Snailway appears in Brighton and Hove

Jessica Hubbard - October 3, 2018

Colourful Snail statues have appeared across Brighton and Hove. The Snails are part of an art trail turned fundraising initiative by Martlets, a hospice and charity. Fifteen of…

In conversation with Novympia at The Glitter Ball
Interview
106 views
Interview
106 views

In conversation with Novympia at The Glitter Ball

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018

Towards the start of The Glitter Ball, I managed to chat with Nova and Olympia (with interruptions from Charmaine Diamond White) about what drag means to them,…

Interview
58 views

In conversation with Alfie Ordinary and Baby at The Glitter Ball

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018

During the course of the night, I managed to sit down with Alfie and Baby to interview them about their start in drag, how LGBTQ+ students should…

In conversation with DragSoc’s committee members at The Glitter Ball
Interview
71 views
Interview
71 views

In conversation with DragSoc’s committee members at The Glitter Ball

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018

I was lucky enough to be given the chance to watch DragSoc’s amazing Glitter Ball and then interview the performers in the packed Activities Office staff room…