New evidence from an international project involving Sheffield academics has found humans are continuing to evolve - and significant natural and sexual selection is still taking place in our species.
Despite advancements in medicine and technology, as well as an increased prevalence of monogamy, research reveals humans are continuing to evolve, just like other species.
Scientists in an international collaboration, including Sheffield University, analysed church records of about 6,000 Finnish people born between 1760 and 1849.
They were working to determine whether the demographic, cultural and technological changes of the agricultural revolution affected natural and sexual selection.
Project leader Dr Virpi Lummaa, of Sheffield University’s animal and plant sciences department, said: “We have shown that advances have not challenged the fact our species is still evolving, just like all the other species ‘in the wild’.
“It is a common misunderstanding that evolution took place a long time ago, and that to understand ourselves we must look back to the hunter-gatherer days of humans.”
Dr Lummaa said: “The factors making some individuals able to survive better, or have better success at finding partners and produce more kids, have changed across time and differ in different populations.”