Jerry Coyne summarizes a study on contemporary and future evolutionary change in humans:
Several traits did indeed appear to be undergoing selection. From the amount of this selection, we can predict the percentage change in the trait that we expect to see after ten more generation of reproduction (roughly 300 years from now).
Total cholesterol: going down. Projected to drop 3.6% in ten generations
Weight: going up a tad, projected to increase 1.4% in ten generations
Height: we’re getting shorter projecting a drop of 1.3% (2.1 cm) in ten generations.
Systolic blood pressure: Going down, as predicted. Projected to drop 1.9% in ten generations.
Age at menopause: Going up; projected to rise 1.6% (0.8 years) in ten generations.
Age at first reproduction: Going down. Projected to drop 1.7% (from 26.18 to 25.74 years).
So women, at least, are getting shorter, stouter, and reproducing earlier and over a longer period of time. This is evolutionary change. Based on this study, we can tentatively say, with more assurance than I used to, that yes, our species is still evolving.
He adds a few caveats to the data later on in the post.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.