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ongoing human evolution

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Top 10 discoveries about ancient people from DNA in 2023

This year's highlights include ways of finding ancient relatives, how some phenotypes evolved in ancient people, and trace evidence from artifacts.

DNA molecular models on a cloudy background
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Why are humans evolving to lack their wisdom teeth?

The frequency of M3 agenesis varies greatly among human populations. It may have to do with agricultural diets, but anthropologists aren't sure.

Panoramic X-ray image of human teeth in the upper and lower jaws
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Recent adaptive evolution to resist the toxic effects of arsenic

Examining a study by Carina Schlebusch and coworkers into the peoples of northern Argentina.

Cactus standing on rocky ground in front of mountains and a sunset.
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David Attenborough says humans have stopped evolving. He's wrong

The famous documentarian has some strong views about the potential of our species, but he overlooks the diversity of environments we have created.

Bust of Darwin wearing some kind of goggles
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How much of human evolution was due to polygenic adaptation?

This has been an eventful week for those of us who study the dynamics of recent selection in humans. The most significant event was the publication of a paper describing genetic analysis of a long selection experiment in Drosophila. Although the experiment differs from most natural instances of selection in

A photo of a "Galton box" which has beads in slots forming a normal distribution
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Notes on Ashley Montagu, recent human evolution, and human equality

The anthropologist argued that humans have stopped evolving, but that isn't the way we understand human evolution today.

Poster reading "Every human has rights"
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Human evolution stopping? Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I look into arguments by the geneticist Steve Jones that human evolution has stopped. It hasn't.

Image of poster on a green wall. Poster reads: "Change is coming, whether you like it or not!"
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Our new paper on why human evolution accelerated

I run through our 2007 work on evidence for recent natural selection across the human genome.

A crowd of people