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Are Humans Evolving?

Posted in Neurologica by Skepdude on October 8, 2008

According to geneticist Steve Jones human evolution is grinding to a halt. Jones says there are several factors that drive evolution: mutations, natural selection, and randomness. He further argues that the decrease in older fathers is leading to a decrease in mutations, since the sperm of older fathers contains many more mutations than younger ones.

This is an interesting argument, but I find several problems with it. First, I am curious as to what the data say about the average age of fathers. I would have thought that this was increasing, not decreasing, as people are having children later. Jones points to alpha males who would father hundreds of children even into their 70’s or 80’s. It is true that in primate species where males have harems, like baboons, alpha males can father a significant portion of the next generation, but this in not true for homo sapiens. Humans dominantly follow a pair-bonding model of mating, even though there is much cultural variation.


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