Briefly Noted: We Are Taming Ourselves

Conventional wisdom among anthropologists used to be that human evolution stopped about 50,000 years ago. Since then, according to paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, “Everything we’ve called culture and civilization we’ve built with the same body and brain.” 

Not so, claim the University of Utah anthropologists Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending in their new book, The 10,000 Year Explosion (Basic Books). Recent genomic screening suggests that civilization has accelerated human evolution. Cochran and Harpending find evidence that the higher population densities made possible by farming created selective pressures that favored genetic shifts toward more sociality, less violence, greater tolerance of alcohol, and more resistance to infectious diseases.

Even more intriguingly, certain genes associated with brain function have been sweeping through human populations. We need to take genetic change as well as cultural change into account to understand the human past and present. —Ronald Bailey

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  • ms||

    I read your story a couple of weeks ago and I've been thinking about the implications. Is it possible, we already have genes that we can 'triger', in some unconscious program? Does it fall under our need to survive as a human family? I'm not convinced it is genetic change but rather we are like computers; consequently, as infantile operators, we are in perpetuum saying: I didn't know I could do that.

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    I need to trigger my spelling gene!

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    POST learn your own Car Insurance tale several months in the past in addition to I am thinking about that benefits. Is it possible, most people have genes that him and i may 'triger', using some other than conscious system? Will the idea are categorized as some of our must pull through to be a human family? I am not assured it really is genetic alter nonetheless alternatively wolves gray i am for instance desktops; subsequently, since infantile operators, i am within perpetuum expressing: POST didn't know I possibly could make it happen.

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