Does technology speed up human evolution? - Macleans.ca
 

Does technology speed up human evolution?

Nobel prize winner studies technology’s impact on the human body and our lifespans


 

Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert W. Fogel has spent three decades researching the size and shape of human bodies over the years, spawning a new branch of historical study and a controversial theory that technology has sped up human evolution in an unprecedented way over the past 100 years, the New York Times reports. According to Fogel, advances in food production and public health has totally outpaced traditional evolution, so people today are apart from other species, and even from our own previous generations. For example, the average American adult man in 1850 was 5 feet 7 inches, weighed 146 pounds, and had a life expectancy of 45 years. In the 1980s, a man in his early thirties was 5 feet 10 inches, weighed 174 pounds and was expected to live to 75. At the time of the French Revolution, the average man in his thirties weighed 110 pounds, compared to 170 pounds today. The exact impact of technology on evolution is still a controversial scientific subject. Next month, a book that sums up Fogel’s theories, The Changing Body, will be published.

The New York Times


 
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Does technology speed up human evolution?

  1. We are turning into a race of giants!… dare I say… Titans?

  2. Oh great. This ought to make politics even more fun than it already is.

    You know, instead of debating who's more Canadian, we can debate who's more human. LOL

  3. I think it has undoubtedly affected the rate at which our specie adapts to our planet. Evolution clearly has shown throw numerous organisms, animals, species that when the circumstances of certain specie specific traits are no long needed or need to be upgraded and adapted it has clearly shown throughout this planets history , that yes we as a specie will need to evolve. That said, what's not to say we have not already evolved in some way already. The first medical implant into a human body must have changed the make up of his brain and how it worked with such a foreign object. You come all the way to today where there are so many things we can put in our body from metal joints for the elderly, hearing aids for the deaf, Identification technology is now on the rise with micro chipping, So in closing I think we must not think about does technology speed up our evolution rather , Have we as humans unknowingly created a pace of technological innovation of infinite acceleration that may irreversibly change our future and could we have already caused the extinction of what it means to be a Human Being. I think it is time to now classify ourselves as a species on the cusp of great change.

    • Nah. Just like everyone trots out the grey moth on grey trees as proof of evolution, it isn't, if I understand my science. These variations in form (phontype) are just a result of already existing variation in genes (genotype) which get expressed when the conditions select for them. Evolution takes a heck of a lot longer than a few generations I thought.

  4. I don't think that the size increases are because taller, heavier men had that much more success in producing progeny (evolution). Rather it is because more people have a diet that is much more rich in meat and dairy which gives us more height, and perhaps a little too much weight.

  5. Hmm, with my none evolved antenna, humans will develop extra fingers if not extra hands in few years time. Eye, hearing, and weight problems will be epedemic. So if I were you guys, time to invest on jewelry (as demand for more rings and bracelets will increase), vision, hearing, and weight correction companies.

  6. Well, no matter why or how we have improved as compared to the past, we will go nowhere in the not to distant future – if we can not control our ever growing population in a world of ever decreasing resources.
    It is high time that we address this issue before we have devoured all our food and water resources! Time to wake up!

  7. Tig welder says, If humanity is creating the technology and passing this knowledge onto future generations, at what point do you consider humans are evolving? Is this not simply knowledge being passed?