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Evolution and Devolution

cr88's picture

After we spoke in class on Tuesday about evolution/devolution, I started thinking about humankind today is perhaps the biggest force shaping its own evolution. This relationship is incredibly complex, and I'm definitely in no position to accurately predict what the outcomes of these processes will be, but a few human-induced changes to the way we evolve seem inevitable. The advent of healthcare capable of saving those who would have otherwise died from certain diseases seems to suggest that human beings are no longer evolving to become more resistant to illness; on the flip side, however, it may also be true that we no longer need to evolve in order to become more resistant to illness as we have "earned" the right not to evolve in this direction through our medical advancements. 

Another human-induced factor that may perhaps be affecting our evolution is the change in the way we as a species communicate with one another. A smile is language universally understood because it was part and parcel of our earliest ancestors' nonverbal language, but today you'll probably see more :)'s in a day than you will actual smiles as we rely more and more on digital means of communication. Given that being an effective communicator is one of the greatest advantages within a society and that new forms of communication such as Twitter or Facebook rely on conveying information in smaller quantities, it would be interesting to see whether this in turn changes the definition of "fittest" when it comes to being able to communicate effectively. 


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