To predict how will the evolution of people, impossible

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2017-11-16 13:00:10

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To predict how will the evolution of people, impossible Source:

We All know how the Neanderthals looked like: a prominent brow, thick nose, elongated skull, powerful bone structure, and probably red hair and freckled skin. You may look askance at the redheads when they meet in the subway, but maybe not. But you probably would want to look closely at hunter-gatherer who lived in Europe 7-8 thousand years ago, DNA which scientists currently analyze.

They had dark skin and, quite possibly, bright blue eyes. This combination has almost disappeared in ancient Europe, he was replaced by a light-skinned and brown-eyed farmers who came from Central Asia for several hundred years and which, in fact, was similar to the modern population of southern Europe.

These first farmers, who could not live without milk, had the gene lactose intolerance, which was not in the old population of hunter-gatherers. They ate much less meat and more starch than meat eaters-Europeans, and relied on milk and sunlight as sources of vitamin D — hence the light skin. As for dark-skinned and blue-eyed people, they disappeared in Europe because of their genetically gradually ousted the intruders.

This is the story of rapid human evolution. New principles of life — the cultivation of crops and animal husbandry instead of hunting led to a rapid expansion of genes, which have used these cultural tools. Ancient dark skin, probably inherited from our common ancestors from Africa, could be a disadvantage, if a large portion of the calories came from cultivated grain and not meat of wild animals, rich in vitamin D. Blue eyes, however, remained, although the form of the gene of blue eyes is recessive and can be easily replaced, brown eyes. Therefore, after a certain time — it's hard to say what the ancient Europeans began to look different. There was also an injection of East Asian genes from people that have similarities with modern Chukchi and other indigenous Siberian groups, closely related with the native Americans. Ancient Europe was a melting furnace, but certain alleles — light skin and brown eyes — began to dominate when the way of life of hunter-gatherers has changed in connection with the transition to farming and agriculture.

We present the evolution described by Charles Darwin in 1859 as a slow dance: nature selects the best adapted organisms for reproduction, breeding and survival in a particular ecosystem. As organisms adapt to changing environmental conditions over thousands of years, thrive better suited to a specific environment, the organisms, allowing the mind to evolve and spread. This process is known as natural selection: best adapted to their environment, organisms will pass on more genes to the next generation than less fit subspecies (of the same species).

The Constant change that we see in fossil record, takes more time. Just look at the trajectory of the hoof Hyracotherium, wild mammal the size of a dog, which gradually lost the side toes (four on the front feet and three on the back), and the Central lengthened. It took 55 million years to animal evolved into a giant horse, which is well known to us all.

Sometimes evolution moves quickly. As shown by the biologists Peter and rosemary Grant of Princeton University, the small beaks can become large in just one generation, depending on the climate conditions and the type of food that can be found on the rugged Islands. Birds with small beaks may die off, and more — to survive, at least for a while. But these rapid changes do not always remain forever. Most of these changes rolled back, again and again. Vegetation changes can mean that large beaks will be uncomfortable. This process of displacement is a small changes occurring over short periods of time is called microevolution.

The Evolutionary biologist David Lahti and Paul Ewald argued that there is nothing exceptional in rapid evolution. Quick change, temporary or not, just reflects the intensity of selection, the increased exposure to "hostile forces of nature" according to Darwin, including predation, heat, cold, parasites. Difficult times mean extinction for some species and the rapid evolution of others. However, to enable the rapid development, there must be enough genetic variation in the gene pool that natural selection had to choose from. As in the case of fast replacement of hunter-gatherers by farmers in ancient Europe. Light-skinned genes surpassed the dark-skinned genes, because it is better suited for life in Europe and a new way of life.

Lati adds that for people social selection is of paramount importance: the presence of other hostile groups and of the human capacity for intragroup cooperation led to the emergence of social complexity and the evolution of the human brain. We don't know whether friendly or hostile contacts with European hunters and middle Eastern farmers. Probably, in ancient Europe was the collision, as well as peaceful exchanges. We cannot know: we only see the result of an obvious failure from one set of features in favor of another who settled in a certain area.

Of Course, light hair and light skin began to characterize Europe in the far North, among the Scandinavian population; there pale skin was probably an adaptation to the lack of vitamin D. Dark skin is a useful adaptation in a hot Sunny climate. As the climate changes, there will probably be other local changes in the appearance of people we don't know yet.

Human evolution and the forces that it is driven by, never stopped. Some people will always be preferable from the point of view of natural selection because of their genes, their offspring more likely to survive. This is the essence of natural selection. Adaptation and human evolution is ongoing. It is impossible to say that we are developing in a certain direction — a large head and puny limbs, as is often said by enthusiasts of science fiction. But at the local level, adaptation, and natural selection will not stop the work, preparing us to new threats, new diseases, climate change, new social interactions, invisible and unnoticed.

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