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27.9.10

Professor Dye's lecture brings up the concept of evolution of biological organisms, we'll call them germs, and what has now become a problem that these germs have become resistant to the the antibiotics now in use. This in it's self is more than enough evidence that evolution is ongoing even today. For those that didn't catch it, this is basically how it came to be. Germs infect the body, a environment, and are killed off with penicillin, a introduction of a adverse condition, but some survive which reproduce offspring with resistance, in other words the species have adapted to their new environment. This is how it works from the smallest organisms to the largest though the adverse conditions may very.
He brought up that Steve Jones thinking is that by and large men have the same number of children as they always have. Though this is true in many parts of the world, those in the developed nations tend to have less children. The factors in this is because of the cost, the cost being nurturing and preparation for adult life in a advanced society, and the survival of more of these children, thus a population growth slowdown, thus adapting to a conditional environment. Of course, the introduction of birth control also plays a factor, but this coexist with the need for fewer births because more of these children survive into adulthood, and thus fewer births are required to sustain the population, but then again, this is adapting to a condition or environment.
Of course, this seems to have more to do with social or cultural adaption rather than actual physical adaption.

In the last several thousand years we have possibly become more thin with bigger brains, though I am not in complete agreement with this being that, at least in the United States and Europe, obesity has become almost a norm, if not a actual health problem as eluded to in one of the diagrams, but with that aside, due to less physical work and more brain work, we have evolved a a bit physically, although I find that the general population as a whole is just as gullible and naïve as ever, as recent propaganda for politics and conflict has shown,

I tend to favor R. Dawkins's description of evolution as "No purpose...nothings but blind pitiless indifference" being that if a species should die out, another would take it's place as though nothing had happened. It might have some importance to us only because we might know about it.

I could also agree with Stephen Jay Gould's statement that "There's been no biological change in humans in 40,000 years", though I think that it might actually be a longer period since the Homo sapien come into being around 130,000 years ago and though we may be a bit less robust now than then, we are basically the same. I don't know if the Homo sapien evolved as a subspecies from another hominid or came into being totally independent from other hominids, not even after watching this clip can I say that we will evolve or devolve but I would suggest that we will become taller and thiner over time if the current trends and environment continue but should we be subject to a catastrophic occurrence, such as a large meteor strike, global warming or biological pandemic the surviving population would go through some changes in the next 40,000 years.

The modern cultural pressure to start having children later is an expression of our recognition of the power of neoteny (the retention of juvenile traits into adulthood) as a distinguishing feature of humans over other mammals. If we restrict our breeding to those of us who retain fertility longer, then we'll be selecting for a population which is ready to start to select for a couple of desirable traits. One will be to introduce a pressure towards staying healthier longer, in particular to shift the start of the cancer slope rightwards. The other perceived advantage will be the opportunity to slow our development and grow larger brains before we reach maturity.

On the wisdom teeth issue, the ready availability of dental treatment (for children in the UK it is high quality and free) removes a natural pressure to retain our previous form, or to adopt an alternate solution like evolving smaller teeth or not developing wisdom teeth at all. So the cause may be environmental (by food and by dentistry) but if we lost the dentistry then we'd be left with an evolutionary solution. I suggest we don't though. Toothache is a horrible way to fall out of the gene pool.

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