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Thread: Book claims humans have evolved futher in the agricultural age page

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    dprest's Avatar
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    Book claims humans have evolved futher in the agricultural age

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    The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution - Gregory Cochran

    Amazon.com: The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution (9780465020423): Gregory Cochran, Henry Harpending: Books

    Seems like the foundation is based on weak arguments

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    This book looks fascinating. I'm adding it to my list. Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dprest View Post
    The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution - Gregory Cochran
    Well, yeah, it never stops. In fact, Natural Selection is supposed to hold everywhere at all times. That rather causes problems when it comes to "explaining" human behaviour in terms of it, which sociobiologists would like to do.

    Human evolution accelerated by cultural change? That could well be, and these two would't be the first to say it.

    From the review quoted there:

    ... there is much here to recommend, including the authors' unique approach to the question of modern human-Neanderthal interbreeding, and their discussion of the genetic pressures on Ashkenazi Jews over the past 1,000 years.
    Yes, that's interesting. Ashkenazi Jews tend on average to score higher than most other populations on average do on some measures of intelligence. (The exception, IIRC, is spatial understanding.) The reason advanced is that they were prominent in business and moneylending. The latter activity, when done for interest, was forbidden to Christians in Mediaeval Europe—and these were really the options really available to you in a society where you didn't own land. Now it follows that among populations that engage in those activities those members who are successful at them become richer—and so leave more descendants—than their fellows who are less successful at those activities. The exception is spatial intelligence—because you don't need to have a good understanding of that to succeed in business. You need ability with words, and so on. The same doesn't hold for Sephardic Jews (Jews living in Moslem societies as opposed to Jews living in Christian societies) it's said, because Sephardic Jews were often forced into menial jobs where, however gifted you might be, you can't prosper on account of that.
    Last edited by Lewis; 08-10-2011 at 10:53 PM. Reason: spellchecker "correcting" correct spelling

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    ^^How does natural selection being a universal create problems when using it to explain human behavior?

    Seems like an interesting book I suppose. I mean, no doubt we're still "evolving". But is it taking place at the level of the genome or is it that technology, civilization, culture, etc. is merely causing our genes to express themselves differently? I'd bet it's more the latter but I'm kinda over it now

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    Humans are not just "evolving." They're evolving. Yes, at the level of the genome.

    And it makes sense that the rate of evolution (i.e., the rate of change in allele frequencies) would have sped up in the last 10,000 years. That's when our environment underwent significant change (for example, by introducing agriculture), and when population densities increased.

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    Quote Originally Posted by maurile View Post
    Humans are not just "evolving." They're evolving. Yes, at the level of the genome.

    And it makes sense that the rate of evolution (i.e., the rate of change in allele frequencies) would have sped up in the last 10,000 years. That's when our environment underwent significant change (for example, by introducing agriculture), and when population densities increased.
    I look at it the opposite.

    Natural selection predicts that those attributes which lead to breeding will dominate.

    Technology, such as agriculture, medicine, housing, as well as a civilization and culture which protects it's weaker members would slow down evolution because people who posses attributes which would lead to an early death before reproduction are now living long fruitful lives.

    Plus, any mutation at the genome level would probably be more likely to become diluted before it ever managed to take hold.

    When people lived in small villages, there was more.. yea... inbreading (first cousin marriages were common). This would encourage mutations (positive and negative) to propogate.

    Today, it's just as easy for someone to marry somewhat in another country as it used to be for someone to marry the girl next door.

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    Meh. I'm not going to take back my shock quotes. I'll just scope out google...aha! Good old SEED magazine comes through

    "The researchers identified hundreds of areas of the human genome that appear to have been positively selected over the past 10,000 years but have not yet reached “fixation”—the point where they are shared in the same form by all members of a population."

    So yeah, technically the human genome is still evolving. Even though, from what I understand, there really isn't such a thing as THE human genome anyway. But I think this little quote nicely illustrates our little disagreement. I'm more concerned with fixation while you may be talking more about the change in allele frequencies when we both use the word "evolution"

    Moving on

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    Ofcourse humans evolved further in the agricultural age, agriculture just ment humans were able to experience living diferently from before in packed groups of upto 50 thousand to millions these days, this is a significant change to living in a tribe of 10 - 100 people, hence we had to evolve to live in this new way, it doesnt mean that the food helped us evolve, just that it made it easier to live in this new way.

    If humans at the time developed a way to grow chiken and cows just like they did with grains Im sure the same thing wouldve happened, just the food would be diferent, and probably healthier, maybe we wouldve evolved slightly diferently, for the better perhaps...

    Changing an animals foodsource usually results in evolution of some sort to cope...

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    In about 1000-2000 years time there might actually be a distinction between people who eat primal and people who eat crap like the majority of the population, the two peoples will both be human, will both be able to procreate with each other, would eb interesting, they should do a study with mice.

    Feed one batch on healthy mouse food that they eat in the wild, and the other batch on crap food city they scavange in sewers, over 20 years, after probably 1000 generations they would be able to see what the difference is, maybe 2 distinct species...

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    Interestingly, my mother in law is a hematologist and she told me a few years ago that her lab comes across new blood type variants all the time, like totally new.

    I asked her whether this could be an example of human "evolution" and she suddenly pricked up, looked all excited and said: "Yes! I suppose it is. I'd never thought of it like that before."



    So we are still changing ...maybe not in a massive way, but we are.

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