The new X:Men movie (X-Men: First Class) comes out today and while I’ll watch it, I won’t be happy about it due to the disastrous efforts of the last two movies. For those that haven’t seen the films or don’t know what X-Men is, it’s basically about these mutants who have evolved to have super powers.
But however bad the films are, there’s still a part of me that wishes I would evolve at any second to be an awesome mutant with awesome super powers. But is that possible? Will I ever evolve to move things with my mind or shoot lasers out of my eyes? Will I ever be able to control the weather or shape shift into a slightly more masculine version of myself? Well the short answer is probably no BUT that’s not to suggest that human’s aren’t still evolving today.
As we all know, evolution for the past gajillion years has been largely influenced by Natural Selection and Survival of the Fittest. But the story today is a bit more different. With humans inventing more and more technologies to succeed, there has been some argument that natural selection no longer plays an important role, with people going as far as to say humans have stopped evolving altogether.
Modern medicine keeps ‘alive many who would otherwise perish’, we no longer have to be fit and slender to hunt down animals to eat and thick winter jackets have meant that we didn’t have a blossoming population of hairy, hairy people with unsightly upper lip hair. What we do have though is a situation where our cultural preferences have influenced our genetic pathway just as much as other factors.
Let’s take blondes as an example…by that I mean natural blondes. A article that was released a few years ago suggested that natural blondes will die out within a few hundred years. That’s right, no more blondies. And what are these anti-blonde perpetuators pointing the finger at? Peroxide. It’s been suggested that people who dye their hair blonde are more attractive than natural blondes. Of course there are other factors but that was by far the funniest one.
One of the more groundbreaking research that has been undertaken is into the evolution of women in Massachusetts. For over 60 years, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania and Boston University have been documenting the characteristics of over 2000 women, recording their physiological characteristics and reproductive efforts. Their conclusion? Women in the area they studied are more likely to be shorter and more plump in the years to come as these women tended to have more children than their skinny, tall counterparts.
The team suggested that by 2409, women in this county would be a whole 2cm shorter and a whole 1kg heavier! Woah! However, that’s only if things continue the way they are and who knows, maybe a new diet pill in the future will ensure that nobody in Massachusetts is plumper than Kate Moss.
The whole idea of human evolution is a pretty contentious one. You only have to do a google search of ‘are humans still evolving’ to get a variety of different opinions (or just click here and here). However, it’s probably safe to say that I’ll be waiting a long time before I can read people’s minds from the safety of a wheelchair.
Over to you:
- If you could have an X-Men super power, what would itbe?
- Can you tell the difference between a natural blonde and peroxide blonde?
- Besides us women getting shorter, what other evolutionary things do you think will come about in the next 500 years?