Despite computerization and modern technology, humans are still evolving and they do it even faster than before.
Thanks to the power of selection, human evolution has sped up, leading to new mutations in our genes.
Here are 6 signs that humans have lately evolved and they’re still doing it.
1. The truth about blue eyes
Did you know that initially, we all had brown eyes? Until someone developed a genetic mutation about 10,000 years ago and turned brown eyes blue.
This weird mutation altered the OCA2 gene, which produces melatonin, a natural hormone made by your body’s pineal gland.
And this substantially minimized the capacity to have brown eyes by limiting the melanin produced in the iris and diluting the eye color from brown to blue.
2. Humans are missing their wisdom teeth
Our ascendants had bigger jaws than us: just think about their eating habits. Their tough diet led to worn-down chompers that needed replacing.
So nutrition played a huge role in human evolution and “gave birth” to the wisdom teeth: a third set of molars.
But after we began cooking our food and started using kitchenware thousands of years ago, our diet became softer. A softer diet means our meals are easier to chew, and our jaws are smaller. More by token, there isn’t room for our wisdom teeth.
This is why wisdom teeth are vestigial organs. Nowadays, one in four people are missing at least one of their missing tooth, and 35% of the population is born without it.
3. Adults drink milk
Every mammal drinks milk, but you must know that only humans can digest lactose after infancy.
When people started domesticating cows, sheep, and goats, drinking milk became a nutritionally advantageous quality. Furthermore, as studies show, those who could digest lactose were better capable to procreate.
Although more than 75% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant, we must recognize that the ability to digest calorie-dense dairy products was really useful for humans surviving those cold winters.
4. Humans are resisting infectious diseases
Researchers analyzed 1800 genes that have only become common in humans and they found out signs of human evolution. For example, new genetic variants can fight infectious diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, and leprosy.
Another theory says that living in cities has favored natural selection. Apparently, city-dwellers are more resistant to diseases, so urban living is the cause of increases in population density, pathogen mobility through long‐distance trade.
“It flags up the importance of a very recent aspect of our evolution as a species, the development of cities as a selective force”, says Dr. Ian Barnes, a well-known evolutionary biologist.
5. Shrinking brains
Our brains have been shrinking for more than 30,000 years, but scientists have good news: that doesn’t make us dumber.
The average volume of the human brain has reached the amount equivalent to the size of a tennis ball. But we don’t have any reason to worry because smaller brains are more efficient.
In addition, scientists bring good news for us: smaller brains make us less aggressive, allowing us to communicate to solve problems, rather than kill each other.