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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