Are Humans Still Evolving?


In this Spotlight, we ask whether modern humans are still evolving or whether we have stepped out of the path of natural selection.

Charles Darwin engraving

Does Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution still apply to modern humans?

Charles Darwin published his totemic work on evolution — On the Origin of Species — in 1859.

Based on the concept of natural selection, Darwin’s book provided scientists with a new toolkit for understanding the place that humans and animals occupy in the natural world.

The tome also gave clues as to where their earthly origins may lie.

According to Darwin’s thesis, evolution is slow and incremental with tiny genetic changes spread tens of thousands of years apart gently pushing forward changes in species.

In 2000, the paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould famously declared that “there’s been no biological change in humans in 40,000 or 50,000 years,” suggesting that evolution in humans is imperceptibly slow or has perhaps stopped altogether…

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Last modified: June 26, 2018

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