So, how are genes and genetic mutations relevant to understanding human evolution? Scientists agree that the nature of human evolution today is unlike anything in the past.
Most notably, the primary determining factors for the reproductive success that Darwin highlighted in his theory for natural selection are now culture and technology because, as previously mentioned, evolution can’t keep up with the speed of modern life.1
Consider how well humans are adapted to computer screens, rigorous work schedules, processed food, and big cities filled with pathogens and low in plant life. In fact, the most prevalent issues in modern life put into question how the intricate system that supports complex metabolic pathways falls victim to health issues like insomnia, heart disease, and diabetes.
However, human progress and technological advancement has its perks. Researchers believe that humans have the potential to knock out disadvantageous traits without evolution with the use of rapidly-involving genetic technologies.
Still, a society working to knock out neurodegenerative disorders like Huntington’s and Parkinson’s and discover the cure cancer overlooks the little things like the food it’s eating or the air it’s breathing.
Somewhere down the line, progress became limitless, but so did unhealthy lifestyle habits. This part of human evolution comes later than the dawn of man and begins with the Agricultural Revolution, followed by the Industrial Revolution, and finally, the Urban Revolution.
A brief look into these times of progress sets up the story for where humans are today.