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See Inside Scientific American Volume 311, Issue 3

No, Humans Have Not Stopped Evolving

For 30,000 years our species has been changing remarkably quickly. And we're not done yet

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Humans are willful creatures. No other species on the planet has gained so much mastery over its own fate. We have neutralized countless threats that once killed us in the millions: we have learned to protect ourselves from the elements and predators in the wild; we have developed cures and treatments for many deadly diseases; we have transformed the small gardens of our agrarian ancestors into the vast fields of industrial agriculture; and we have dramatically increased our chances of bearing healthy children despite all the usual difficulties.

Many people argue that our technological advancement—our ability to defy and control nature—has made humans exempt from natural selection and that human evolution has effectively ceased. There is no “survival of the fittest,” the argument goes, if just about everyone survives into old age. This notion is more than just a stray thought in the public consciousness. Professional scientists such as Steven Jones of University College London and respected science communicators such as David Attenborough have also declared that human evolution is over.

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