Most people have accepted the idea that humans have evolved over time and that natural selection is a real thing. However, what we haven't all agreed on is whether or not we are still evolving as a species. An economist from Harvard, Jonathan Beauchamp, believes that we are, though it is taking us a lot longer than it did in the past.
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The economist looked at data of 20,000 people from one generation. He analyzed the lifetime reproductive success (rLRS), or the passing of genes from parent to child to their children. The study looked at people born between 1931 and 1953 so that the people were beyond the child-rearing age. Beauchamp looked at the number of children each person had, studying things like BMI, schizophrenia, menstruation age, education level, and other traits linked to genetics.
There were two main findings, that people with more education had a lower rLRS, which means that they didn't have as many children, and there was a slight increase in the age at which menstruation started.
"My results provide additional evidence that humans are still evolving – albeit slowly, especially compared with the rapid changes that have occurred over the past few generations, due to cultural and environmental factors," writes Beauchamp in his paper.
In other words, people who are educated aren't passing on their genes, meaning that we are getting less educated.
Now there are limitations to the research because the sample size is small and it covered only one generation.
Many scientists say that we are undergoing cultural evolution, meaning that we are spending more time evolving our brains instead of evolving physically.
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The study is published in PNAS.