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Are humans still evolving?

Are humans still evolving?

One question that is inevitably asked of people who believe in evolution is, "Are humans evolving right now?" In fact, this is sometimes used as "evidence" by anti-evolution debaters that evolution, or at least human evolution, cannot be true because humans have not changed dramatically in recorded history. This is where the argument breaks down for these people. It is clear by this question and the assertion we haven't seen changes that the true meaning of evolution is not fully comprehended.

The answer to the question is yes, humans are still evolving. Even small changes such as an overall change in average height in the last 100 years can be used to show adaptations are accumulating over time and will cause the evolution of our species. However, it is very important to keep in mind the time scale of evolution. Just because we do not see large changes in our lifetimes (or even in recorded history of a thousand years) does not mean that evolution is a farce.

When thinking evolutionarily, it is important to remember evolution works over very long periods of time. To humans, 100 years may seem like a very long time since that is longer than most people live. However, compared to the age of the Earth, 100 years is a blink of an eye. The Geologic Time Scale spans more than 4 billion years. Life on Earth started more than 3 billion years ago and human ancestors are nearly 65 million years old. Compared to these large times, the thousand years or so of recorded history by humans is nothing.

In fact, there is a commonly used metaphor that if the amount of history from the formation of the Earth until today were put into the time span of a 24 hour day, the oldest human ancestors that have been discovered would have evolved at 11:58 pm and modern humans have been around for about 1 second on this time clock.

Compared to the history of the Earth, all humans have just not been around very long, let alone a single person's average life span being significant.

Even though we cannot physically see the evolution of humans during our own lifetimes, there is evidence within humans that evolution has occurred and is still happening. For instance, humans have several vestigial structures that are leftovers from previous human ancestors. These structures no longer have a discernible function, but may have at one time.

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{This of course doesn't even mention how useful DNA is in understanding the inter-relationship of all living things. If a cat and a human share some DNA then it must follow that we are related. Human babies in the embryo stage have tails and occasionally a human child is born with a tail which is a throwback to an earlier primate ancestor. We can't escape our origins and our DNA. It is what we are. The proof for evolution is overwhelming and cannot be logically refuted.}

"libido sciendi"..... the passion to know.
11/8/2014, 6:29 pm Link to this post PM Noserose

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