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The process of evolution has conferred humanity with fine-tuned skills and abilities not found on on our ancestors. And a scientific study has now highlighted the specific areas humanity continues to evolve.
Human evolution is a long process of change by which people originated from apelike ancestors.
Humans originated from apelike descendants and evolved over the previous six million years.
One of the oldest defining human characteristics is bipedalism – the ability to walk on two legs, which took place approximately four million years ago.
Other important traits of humans involved having a large and complex brain.
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The development of this most complex of organs led to humans becoming able to develop tools and communicate via written and verbal language.
And experts in human origins now think many advanced traits as humans comprising “complex figurative expression, art, and elaborate cultural diversity,” only occurred in the last few centuries.
This indicates our species is continuing to adjust to the continuing altered environment’s demands.
Below are three specific examples of how the human body continues to change.
Lowered body temperature:
A 37C (98.6F) temperature is usually accepted as our optimal body temperature.
However, a new Stanford University study indicates a more precise reading would come out to be approximately 36.6C (97.9F).
Researchers examined medical records from the past 200 years in the United States.
And when all body temperatures during these years were averaged, the scientists discovered body temperatures had dropped by 0.7C
The study’s author, Dr Julie Parsonnet said in a statement how humans are “so much healthier than the 19th century humans.”
However, she added humans today have since gotten taller, fatter, and have cooler temperatures.
Such a descending trend could be credited to global drops in inflammation, as well as “better living conditions.”
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Changes in genes:
Human genes are in a perpetual state of change “from one generation to the next”.
One major instance of this is the increasing genes enabling our lactose tolerance.
Such an upsurge is most likely because most humans have been drinking milk for their entire lives.
The enzyme enabling humans to digest dairy is deactivated when they reach adulthood.
This is the time when humans are customarily weaned off their mother’s breast milk.
Increasingly lighter and frailer bones:
Our bones are actually getting lighter and frailer, despite all this milk consumption.
Owing to our modern life’s sedentary nature, our bones have decreased in terms of strength and density.
This is almost certainly a direct consequence of reduced physical activity.
Scientists believe such a weakening began around 12,000 years ago, when humans transitioned from hunting to stable farming.
Princeton University’s Professor Joshua Akey said humans are “not immune to the effects of natural selection.”
He added our environment is definitely different “than it was even a century ago”.
Professor Akey said: “It is not hard to imagine things like gene-culture evolution, playing an even more prominent role in the future of human evolution.”
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