The Age of Microevolution is now…

A new study published in the Journal of Anatomy found that humans are increasingly being born without wisdom teeth. Researchers also found that the median artery in the forearm, which used to form in the womb but disappear after birth, is sticking around more often after birth. These changes are showing up far more often than typical human evolution would suggest — and indicates that the human race may be evolving faster than it has at any point in the last 250 years.

“This is what we call ‘microevolution of modern humans,’” said Dr. Teghan Lucas, a professor at the College of Medicine and Public Health at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, who worked on the study. Lucas, along with University of Adelaide professors Maciej Henneberg and Dr. Jaliya Kumaratilake, found that as human faces have gotten shorter, our mouths have consequently become smaller — thus, less room for wisdom teeth. Humankind’s increased ability to chew food, along with the rise in processed foods, also seems to have accelerated this evolutionary trait.

The article moves on to note other anatomical features that would have been classed as uncommon just a few centuries ago. That, my friends, is the blink of an eye in classic evolutionary time.

2 thoughts on “The Age of Microevolution is now…

  1. p/s says:

    The European house mouse has invaded nearly every corner of the Americas since it was introduced by colonizers a few hundred years ago, and now lives practically everywhere humans store their food.
    Yet in that relatively short time span — 400 to 600 mouse generations — populations on the East and West Coasts have changed their body size and nest building behavior in nearly identical ways to adapt to similar environmental conditions, according to a new study by biologists at the University of California, Berkeley.–ew042721.php
    According to the researchers: “The mice we are studying are a reasonable model for thinking about human evolution as well, since humans have been in the Americas about as many generations as house mice. We found genes involved in mouse body size that had previously been implicated in metabolism and things like obesity in humans, so there also are parallels between humans and mice.”
    PLOS Genetics: “The genomics of rapid climatic adaptation and parallel evolution in North American house mice”

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