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Even evolution evolves

Sadly, human evolution has come to a relative standstill in recent years, and we have no one but ourselves to blame. It used to be the case that the weakest and stupidest people were killed by saber tooth tigers or met a gooey end in a tar pit, thus sparing the rest of the gene pool their inferior chromosomes. In today’s modern society, we have advanced medical care, are basically free from predation, and cared for by the vast infrastructure of government – there are no real hurdles for even the most modestly-endowed people to clear in order to pass on their genes, with the notable exception of serious genetic disorders. Everyone in our society has an equal chance to reproduce, and human evolution has largely gone the way of the dodo, or at least nearly so.

You might think that perhaps stupid or ugly people are less likely to be able to attract a mate, but a quick survey of our country will confirm that this is not the case, and hasn’t ever been. In fact, college graduates are being out-bred three to one by people without a high school diploma. I’m not making this up; they start sooner and birth more frequently. We’d better start catching up quickly, people.

Evolution is one of those curious topics I find myself pondering in the shower, in between soul-tarnishing renditions of “One is the Loneliest Number.” The other morning, as I lavished my flowing locks with Finesse conditioner (save it), I started thinking about how, 5000 years ago, conditioner would have been a serious detriment to human survival. Its flowery scent would alert every man-eater within a mile radius that dinner was served, and the daily application would consume time otherwise spent foraging for berries or the occasional box of Lucky Charms. Users of conditioner were less likely to survive to reproductive age, and therefore less likely to pass on their conditioner-favoring genes. But today, having sexy piles of soft, silky hair, mounds of it, increases my chances of passing on my genes by at least a factor of two, if you catch my drift.

[Turning suddenly serious]. Human evolution really is a fascinating topic, and I know much more about it than I let on. If you’re interested, I recommend Guns, Germs, and Steel and The Third Chimpanzee, both by Jared Diamond. Evolution explains a lot, including why people do drugs, why Native Americans didn’t come to dominate Europeans instead of vice versa (it was the crops and the germs), and why women don’t turn bright red during ovulation like so many other female primates. Read them, now.

I’m so tired I just caught myself confusing “their” and “there”; people who make that mistake are below reproach in my steely gaze, although still a level above those who don’t discriminate between “you’re” and “your”. We’re making ice cream, then I’m going to bed for nine blessed hours of sleep. Ahhh.

Posted in Musings.


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