Field of Science

In which a leading geneticist makes a fool of himself

Geneticist Steve Jones claims that human evolution has grind to a halt, and that our descendants a million years hence will look just like us. John Wilkins has a nice rebuttal of this ridiculous notion, but I'd like to add that another reason why Jones is off track.

Whether a species evolves or not - change vs. stasis - depends on the environment. For a very short time in evolutionary terms the environment has been relatively stable, but once that changes - and it always does - species change with it.

There are two ways in which humans could slow down their own evolution in such an event: i) keep the effective population size large, or ii) use technology and medicine to minimize the impact of the environment. The former implies the upkeep of a global, sexually mixed society, and the latter the constant use of said technologies. Suggesting that either is certain for a million years is naïve in the extreme.

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