Think natural selection doesn’t play a role in modern humans? New study says that yes, it does.

As humans, we like to believe that no, natural selection does not play a role in our continuing development. Our intellects and ability to conquer nature are what have pushed us forward.

But a new study of birth, death and marriage patterns in a single village in Finland between the years 1760 and 1849 suggests that all the patterns we expect to find in animals are present in humans. At least, they were 200 years ago. Most villagers died off before they were 15 – suggesting that disease and a lack of adaptable qualities took their toll. Of those who did not die, 20% never married or reproduced, suggesting that sexual selection also played a role in the village’s continued existence.

Whether the same holds true for an era of modern medicine remains unanswered by this study. But one interesting note is that, in this village at least, comparable wealth had no particular bearing on the success of the individual. You might think that the availability of modern medicine would now be weighing against evolution. Considering the fact that the U.S. ranks 50th out of 221 countries in life expectancy, well, maybe evolution is indeed still weighing in on our future?

Natural Selection Is Still With Us – ScienceNOW.