Although advances in medical care have improved standards of living over time, humans aren’t entirely sheltered from the forces of natural selection, a new study shows.It was thought that because medicine has been so good at reducing mortality rates, that means that natural selection is no longer operating in humans,” said Stephen Stearns of Yale University.
A recent analysis by Stearns and colleagues turns this idea on its head. As part of a working group sponsored by the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in Durham, NC, the team of researchers decided to find out if natural selection — a major driving force of evolution — is still at work in humans today. The result? Human evolution hasn’t ground to a halt. In fact, we’re likely to evolve at roughly the same rates as other living things.The changes may be slow and gradual, but the predicted rates of change are no different from those observed elsewhere in nature, the researchers say….