Are We Still Evolving?

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Dr Alice Roberts asks one of the great questions about our species: are we still evolving?

There’s no doubt that we’re a product of millions of years of evolution.

But thanks to modern technology and medicine, did we escape Darwin’s law of the survival of the fittest?

Alice follows a trail of clues from ancient human bones, to studies of remarkable people living in the most inhospitable parts of the planet, to the frontiers of genetic research to discover if we are still evolving – and where we might be heading.

Are We Still Evolving?, 6.7 out of 10 based on 20 ratings

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  • http://www.twitter.com/sandycarp Nonny

    Annoying accent, cute bum.

    • Hewlettcraphard

       I disagree… I love her accent. But I agree with you on the bum :P

  • Sld Ksv

    interesting

  • nobody

    “asks one of the great questions about our species”
    For real??

    No…millions of years of evolution has ground to a halt because we’re perfect now…

    Amazing that someone with a PHD can be so stupid…arrogant is understandable.

  • nobody

    “asks one of the great questions about our species”
    For real??

    No…millions of years of evolution has ground to a halt because we’re perfect now…

    Amazing that someone with a PHD can be so stupid…arrogant is understandable.

    • Johnny

      Conventional views of evolution are far from a proven fact and it’s not just creationists that think so, this documentary was likely at least partially in response to the growing interest in the idea that evolution may actually be caused by genetic mutations resultant from significant rapid changes in Earth’s geomagnetic environment(and possibly other factors).

      Although still a minority view for sure it was born out of the cutting edge of biotechnology research into the electrical and magnetic attributes of DNA and the strive to connect strands of DNA with non-biological materials.

      Some have proposed that this is why since our ‘evolution’ into modern homo-sapien-sapiens there has been no further systematic evolution of the human genetic makeup, just (arguably) small scale adaptations.

      Likely this documentary was aimed at providing a ‘mainstream’ filler for the subject concerning lack of recent human evolutionary processes, since ignoring an issue like it completely would be bad PR. This film at least seems to address the question of lack of ‘modern’ evolution of humans without actually saying anything that goes against the acceptable mainstream views.

      Personally I tend to take a ‘little of both’ view on the matter – nature likes to evolve so evolution will occur no matter what, but there are certain factors that can cause significant ‘anomalies’ or outright alterations in the evolutionary process(good or bad).

      It’s an interesting subject to me anyways, especially getting into the research on biotechnology as it’s amazing some of the things they are already achieving today and downright mind-blowing what they are proposing for tomorrow. The future of biotechnology and nanotechnology is looking very bright.

      On a side note – I’ve heard a few people suggest that it could have been a change in the Earth’s EM environment due to a rapid geomagnetic pole reversal(other possibilities too) and not an asteroid/meteor impact that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs – in some cases their DNA got mutated to become modern birds or crocodiles or komodo dragons or whatever and in other cases it got mutated out of existence by making them genetically incapable of surviving.

      Although a significant number of pole reversals are evidence in recent history it is possible in more ancient times if the Earth’s geomagnetic environment was more ‘intense’ a pole reversal could have produced far more significant effects than the more modern occurrences. Could extinction level effects be possible?

      A lot of interesting ideas can come about by embracing a bit of ‘pseudo-science’ and going against what is currently ‘accepted as fact’.

      In many cases the theories that are accepted today were originally accepted when scientific technology/tools and understanding were vastly inferior to today.

      Now that our technology has evolved we can’t ignore the new information that technology provides us just because it goes against ‘accepted facts’ established 50-100+ years ago when nobody knew any better.

      Dogma isn’t healthy, nor is it science.

      But I’m ranting now so I’ll end by saying that I was actually surprised a bit that I really enjoyed this documentary although it was a tad boring and ‘dogmatic’ in spots, and also she does have a cute bum… :D

    • Johnny

      Conventional views of evolution are far from a proven fact and it’s not just creationists that think so, this documentary was likely at least partially in response to the growing interest in the idea that evolution may actually be caused by genetic mutations resultant from significant rapid changes in Earth’s geomagnetic environment(and possibly other factors).

      Although still a minority view for sure it was born out of the cutting edge of biotechnology research into the electrical and magnetic attributes of DNA and the strive to connect strands of DNA with non-biological materials.

      Some have proposed that this is why since our ‘evolution’ into modern homo-sapien-sapiens there has been no further systematic evolution of the human genetic makeup, just (arguably) small scale adaptations.

      Likely this documentary was aimed at providing a ‘mainstream’ filler for the subject concerning lack of recent human evolutionary processes, since ignoring an issue like it completely would be bad PR. This film at least seems to address the question of lack of ‘modern’ evolution of humans without actually saying anything that goes against the acceptable mainstream views.

      Personally I tend to take a ‘little of both’ view on the matter – nature likes to evolve so evolution will occur no matter what, but there are certain factors that can cause significant ‘anomalies’ or outright alterations in the evolutionary process(good or bad).

      It’s an interesting subject to me anyways, especially getting into the research on biotechnology as it’s amazing some of the things they are already achieving today and downright mind-blowing what they are proposing for tomorrow. The future of biotechnology and nanotechnology is looking very bright.

      On a side note – I’ve heard a few people suggest that it could have been a change in the Earth’s EM environment due to a rapid geomagnetic pole reversal(other possibilities too) and not an asteroid/meteor impact that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs – in some cases their DNA got mutated to become modern birds or crocodiles or komodo dragons or whatever and in other cases it got mutated out of existence by making them genetically incapable of surviving.

      Although a significant number of pole reversals are evidence in recent history it is possible in more ancient times if the Earth’s geomagnetic environment was more ‘intense’ a pole reversal could have produced far more significant effects than the more modern occurrences. Could extinction level effects be possible?

      A lot of interesting ideas can come about by embracing a bit of ‘pseudo-science’ and going against what is currently ‘accepted as fact’.

      In many cases the theories that are accepted today were originally accepted when scientific technology/tools and understanding were vastly inferior to today.

      Now that our technology has evolved we can’t ignore the new information that technology provides us just because it goes against ‘accepted facts’ established 50-100+ years ago when nobody knew any better.

      Dogma isn’t healthy, nor is it science.

      But I’m ranting now so I’ll end by saying that I was actually surprised a bit that I really enjoyed this documentary although it was a tad boring and ‘dogmatic’ in spots, and also she does have a cute bum… :D

      • Bradders

        forgot to press reply in earlier comment.

    • Lil3erty

      Your My Hero Best Quote Ever :) And yeah you see the rise in documentaries of crap we already know….this doc. is just to get kids interested in Biology which i dont know how you could love Learning about the future of the world and unknowns ecs…. im 16 lol

  • thekingbeyondthegate

    Obviously evolution is the most obvious explanation for the complication of life but there are many things can single could not have mutated in one step and can have no obvious advantage in steps. One commonly cited example is the eyeball.

    • Aa

      You have no idea what you’re talking about, and are quoting the most common idiotic creationist question.
      No advantage to steps? Are you saying you’d rather be completely blind, than a little bit blind? No advantage to having some form of sight?

  • Bradders

    hi Johnny, after reading some of your comments i must say i find your views very interesting and i myself have been questioning the current theories on evolution, I was wondering what you thought about how much solar activity can control the rate in which evolution takes place. After watching a recent documentary on our gene code there is evidence to suggest that evolution does not occur at a steady rate but more like a continueous series of peaks and troughs, and that got me thinking as to what can cause this? Of course natural disasters and changes in enviroments would definatly have an effect but i was thinking how much an effect the cycles of the sun would have on evolution, would it be naive of me to presume that increased solar activity would result in more genetic mutations? well as you can probably tell i am not a scientist, and some people might even label me as uneducated {not necessarily a bad thing}, but i am not afraid to speculate and you seem like a friendly enough chap i was just wondering if you had any thoughts?

    • Johnny

      Hello, sorry I didn’t see this till now.

      In my view there is a definite connection with increased solar activity and evolutionary processes, though I am not entirely sure what that is at this time.

      Some have speculated but I personally don’t believe there is a connection as far as ‘increased charge = positive evolution/ decreased charge = negative evolution(extinction)’ as to me there are many other non-electrical factors that would contribute to the situation as well.

      An increase in charge could produce positive evolutionary changes in one species while causing the extinction of another, as would be noted with the dinosaurs where some adapted and have survived till today while many others were annihilated, seemingly almost instantly(hence the comet/asteroid impact idea as it’s hard for conventional scientists to see anything else producing such a rapid change).

      There are a few different theories or models that put importance on the electrical aspects of the universe and as such there are a few possibilities of how that Solar-electrical activity could affect things.

      Some theorists suggest under the ‘Saturn Theory’ that our current sun Sol wasn’t the same sun many in ancient times recall, that at one time Saturn was our sun and Earth and Mars were part of the ‘Saturn System’.

      When the Saturn System and Solar System collided and merged it led to a period of time where Sol and Saturn ‘battled’ for supremacy in the ‘Solar electrical grid’ with Saturn often being referred to as the ‘night sun’ or ‘black sun’. (note – our galaxy does seem to be merging with another galaxy, and Saturn does exhibit plasma behavior similar to brown dwarf stars which do lend some support to the theory)

      As Saturn was theorized to be a Brown Dwarf star and Sol being larger and ‘more powerful’ it was Sol that eventually won the “Battle of the Titans”.

      Obviously such massive changes to our entire stellar organization could definitely cause some ‘fluctuations’ in the genetic evolutionary time-line, with the ‘side-effects’ of that potentially lasting thousands of years and causing smaller ‘fluctuations’ and such.

      On the other hand the Plasma Universe view is of a time when the Solar System was far more electrically active and the result was awe-inspiring plasma formations formed in Earth’s upper atmosphere – which the ancients interpreted as gods and such.

      This view is more in line with my personal views of the Solar System going through electrical cycles as it moves through areas of differing Plasma charge in it’s orbit through our galaxy.

      Then of course we have our Galaxy itself which is “orbiting” something(presumably a galaxy cluster, though all we really know is our galaxy seems to be moving through space) and so over a greater period of time that could cause changes to the cycles as the entire galaxy enters different regions of charge.

      If our galaxy was stationary and the Solar system orbited within it then we’d simply pass through the same regions of charge over and over and have relatively uniform cycles, but with the galaxy movement as well those cycles themselves can alter over long time periods. How that would affect the ‘peaks and troughs’ is hard to say.

      Any of those cycles or changes to the charge levels of the Interstellar Plasma Medium would in turn produce increased solar activity in some fashion as in an electrical world even decreasing charge can be accompanied by high solar activity.

      For me personally – the Solar System involves a “cell” like structure(the Helio-spheric current sheet) which surrounds the entire system and is an ‘electric double layer’ which is basically a 2-sided wall of charge that protects us directly from those differing plasma medium charges and ‘diffuses’ the energy throughout the system.

      Any object within that ‘cell’ that has the greatest electrical capacitance will become the focus for the majority of electrical energy within the ‘cell’, ie – the sun. Depending on circumstances though if the electrical energy is too great for that single high-capacitance object another object could become a ‘second sun’, or binary star system. (And so on)

      Due to the plasma medium between the stars and planets in any system the energy is radiated as starlight in dielectric form and forms Birkeland currents in the plasma in EM form as a result of that dielectric energy flow and charge differential between cosmic objects.

      Those electrical connections then can greatly alter the planetary geo-electrical environments and cause all kinds of changes to both biological and non-biological matter.

      This could explain the ‘black sun’ period of Saturn in ancient mythology without the need for 2 different star system physically colliding, as if the Solar System entered a region of charge too great for Sol to handle alone Saturn as a ‘gas giant’ with high capacitance would make a good secondary anode/sun.

      Note that gas in a cosmic setting indicates high energy, whether from an electrical or mechanical viewpoint. From an electrical viewpoint the fact they are in a gaseous state indicates that they are already the focus of significant energy even now and increases of energy would simply cause ‘flare ups’.

      But some gas giants could already be at their maximum capacitance based on their elemental composition and thus would not ‘flare up’ while others could react very actively.

      This could also explain Venus being represented as ‘flaring up’ into a great comet in ancient mythology, as if there are multiple objects with similar capacitance they could all be affected to different levels depending on proximity to the main anode/sun, Sol. (the Saturn Theory view see’s Venus physically entering our system and ‘discharging’ as it reaches electrical equilibrium producing the cometary image)

      An easy way to look at is that the Solar System is a super-sized atom, with sub-atomic particles(planets) within it that orbit the particle of highest capacitance that is the ‘nucleus’(sun).

      Theoretically just like when you increase the energy in an atom to a certain threshold the electrical repulsion of the particles causes the atomic structure to break down and all those particles become ‘free-floating’ or ionized(plasma) if the energy level in a system increased to a certain point two or more suns/stars could electrically repulse and overpower the force of gravity causing them to separate into independent stellar systems.

      I’m kind of getting away from the evolutionary focus here but in my view as you mentioned the electrical/plasma cycles or variances could easily account for such ‘evolutionary’ changes over time, the ‘peaks and troughs’.

      It’s a subject that is interesting to consider, especially in connection to ancient mythological archetypes.

      And also I would agree you with on the part about a lack of official education not necessarily being a bad thing.

      But it does make even having discussions of this type of stuff difficult since too many of those ‘educated’ people refuse to even consider something they haven’t been taught to understand.

      You don’t need to understand every feature of every piece of the puzzle to have an understanding of the ‘big picture’.

      Focusing on too many of the precise details and pieces without understanding the correct nature of the big picture is what poses a great threat for science.

      Specialism and dogma is killing scientific advancement and only people outside of the system(uneducated/pseudo-scientists) can do anything to change that.

      Anyways, sorry for the long post. I tried to keep it as simple and short as possible while addressing the main things I wanted to mention, hopefully it makes sense for the most part… haha

      PS – I just realized I didn’t even mention the connection between electrical/plasma filamentary structure and the structure of DNA double-helix formations, or ‘electric biology’ at all which was one of the main things I wanted to discuss here…

      But I’ll save you from anymore reading right now and if you are interested I can point you to some interesting discussion on the matter elsewhere.

      The Thunderbolts forums has a great thread of a collection of data on DNA and the electrical and magnetic properties of it:

      ‘DNA Resources File’ – http://www.thunderbolts.info/forum/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=227

      Cheers. :)

      • Johnny

        Note: (hence the comet/asteroid impact idea as it’s hard for conventional scientists to see anything else producing such a rapid change).

        The comet/asteroid impact theory for the mass-extinction of the dinosaurs is what is referred to as ‘catastrophism’, which is not widely regarded by the scientific establishment.

        Only in the last few decades has the impact theory become widely accepted, and only because conventional scientists could not argue with the fossil evidence that indicated that the extinction was an extremely rapid event.

        From a conventional viewpoint a cosmic impact is the most likely candidate for such a rapid event, though recently there have been some other theories of a ‘global methane holocaust’ but they are far more speculative.

        A sudden change to the geo-electrical/geo-magnetic environment could cause an almost instantaneous reaction such as the evidence indicates, but until recently that was completely unthinkable and even now is barely in the ‘fringes’ of acceptable science.

        Of course one would have to note that a meteor impact of even a relatively small magnitude could directly cause large changes or fluctuations in the geo-electric and geomagnetic environment.

        So it’s not out of the realm of possibility of it being ‘a little of both’ situation.

        Some of the evolutionary ‘peaks and troughs’ could have been the result of sizable meteorite impacts, others could be purely electrical in origin.

        Conventional science likes things nice and linear – going from A to B to C to D and so on.

        This type of electrical stuff throws a wrench into that and suggests that it may possible for some things to go straight from A to D, without B and C.

        Disturbing the established order of things is rarely welcomed.

        Especially by the mathematicians that dominate science today.

      • Johnny

        Note: (hence the comet/asteroid impact idea as it’s hard for conventional scientists to see anything else producing such a rapid change).

        The comet/asteroid impact theory for the mass-extinction of the dinosaurs is what is referred to as ‘catastrophism’, which is not widely regarded by the scientific establishment.

        Only in the last few decades has the impact theory become widely accepted, and only because conventional scientists could not argue with the fossil evidence that indicated that the extinction was an extremely rapid event.

        From a conventional viewpoint a cosmic impact is the most likely candidate for such a rapid event, though recently there have been some other theories of a ‘global methane holocaust’ but they are far more speculative.

        A sudden change to the geo-electrical/geo-magnetic environment could cause an almost instantaneous reaction such as the evidence indicates, but until recently that was completely unthinkable and even now is barely in the ‘fringes’ of acceptable science.

        Of course one would have to note that a meteor impact of even a relatively small magnitude could directly cause large changes or fluctuations in the geo-electric and geomagnetic environment.

        So it’s not out of the realm of possibility of it being ‘a little of both’ situation.

        Some of the evolutionary ‘peaks and troughs’ could have been the result of sizable meteorite impacts, others could be purely electrical in origin.

        Conventional science likes things nice and linear – going from A to B to C to D and so on.

        This type of electrical stuff throws a wrench into that and suggests that it may possible for some things to go straight from A to D, without B and C.

        Disturbing the established order of things is rarely welcomed.

        Especially by the mathematicians that dominate science today.

  • ruby

    that accent drives me crazy

  • ruby

    that accent drives me crazy

  • Amino

    blocked