Sir David Attenborough: Evolution Has Stopped For People

James Johnson - Author

Sep. 10 2013, Updated 1:05 p.m. ET

Sir David Attenborough believes evolution among humans is drawing to a close. Attenborough believes our ability to keep even the weakest of our species alive has stunted our physical evolution.

Attenborough notes that we can now safely deliver upwards of 99 percent of our babies and therefore people are no longer the victims of Darwinian theories and natural selection.

Attenborough doesn’t think we are culturally stunted; instead, he believes we will evolves through inherited knowledge from previous generations.

Speaking with Radio Times this week, Sir David said: “I think that we’ve stopped evolving.”

Attenborough further laments:

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“Because if natural selection, as proposed by Darwin, is the main mechanism of evolution – there may be other things, but it does look as though that’s the case – then we’ve stopped natural selection. We stopped natural selection as soon as we started being able to rear 95–99 per cent of our babies that are born. We are the only species to have put a halt to natural selection, of its own free will, as it were.”

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To explain his view of human evolution, Sir David Attenborough will present Rise of Animals on BBC2.

So is stunting human evolution a bad thing? According to Attenborough, it’s not as bad as it might seem:

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“Stopping natural selection is not as important, or as depressing, as it might sound – because our evolutionary process is now cultural. Humans have a great cultural inheritance as well as a physical, genetic inheritance – we can inherit a knowledge of computers or television, electronics, aeroplanes and so on. Each generation has got all these books that tell them these things, so our cultural evolution is proceeding with extraordinary swiftness.”

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Do you think David Attenborough’s human evolution claim is correct? Have we stunted our own physical evolution through our advances in technology and medicine?


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