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Fundies Really, Really Do Not Understand Evolution


debrand

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Sunshine, in the world of Anthropology our understanding of human evolution is constantly changing and evolving. As other people have mentioned there are a lot of examples of micro evolution that are visible right now in our world. It might SEEM like humans haven't evolved in a long time but that's not really true.

As recently as 40,000 there was a dramatic divergence in human form. About 40,000 years ago there were H. sapiens. There was also H. floresiensis, who is a little known recent human ancestor.

H. foresiensis were thought to be evolved from H. erectus and lived exclusively on the island of Flores in Indonesia (some believe they existed alongside H. sapiens on the island but that is one of many hotly contested issues surrounding the species). There's an phenomenon in biology called 'the island rule' where animals confined to small, isolated environments become extremely large when they are normally small (like rats growing to enormous sizes) and animals that are normally large become extremely small (such as pigmy elephants) to cope with the lack of resources.

H. floresiensis was one of the animals that scaled down. People initially thought they must be of extremely low intelligence because they have such tiny brain cases compared to other Homo genus animals. Their brain cases were more along the lines of something from Pan (The chimp family).

Because it was believed that encephalisation (brain growth) was directly linked to human success and evolution, people assumed they would have similar behaviour to the ancient human ancestors with brain cases of a similar size, such as Australopithecus. However, all the archeological evidence found proved that in spite of the H. floresiensis being only around 3-4 feet tall with brain cases the size of a chimpanzee's, they had hunted, butchered and cooked animals which proved they had at least the intelligence of H. erectus. Some anthropologists even argue there are signs of dental surgery on the teeth of some of the specimens.

This find proved that humans can still rapidly evolve, and also that the increasing size of the brain cases with each evolution of human ancestors did not play as important a part in our success as previously thought. So that's an example of rapid human evolution within the time H. sapiens has roamed the earth.

Right now humans don't have much need to evolve. Natural selection is playing less and less of a role in deciding who lives and who dies. Natural selection 'streamlines' the process of evolution and when an animal is extremely successful they don't really need to evolve. This is evidenced in other predators like Crocodiles, which have hardly evolved in millions of years.

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A few years later I found evidence online that some humans have Neanderthal DNA. I saw proof of human migration through DNA mapping. I read, in a doctor's office an article about an island in the pacific where an ancient humanoid's DNA is found in modern humans, but only the peoples of that island. I wish I could find that article!

Sounds like an article in National Geographic I read recently. I can look for it when I get back home. :-)

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