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Study predicts that in 400 years average woman will weigh nearly 1 kg more, be 2 cm (almost an inch) shorter

A strong body of evidence exists that humans are continually evolving a diverse fashion in response to various environmental influences.  Despite skepticism from some who blindly reject such studies for various dogmatic reasons, human evolution does appear to be happening.  And researchers in the fields of genetics and evolutionary biology are revealing exciting insights into what man (and woman) may look like in the future.

A new study from Yale University researchers offers some intriguing and unusual conclusions about where human evolution may be headed.  A new study analyzing a population of 14,000 residents of the Massachusetts town of Framingham indicates that women are being naturally selected to be shorter and chubbier, have children younger, and have lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

The complex study came to these conclusions by looking at the medical records of 2,238 female participants, spread across two generations (starting in 1948) and looking at their medical history when they reached menopause.  The study examined those that successfully reproduced and looked at what traits influenced their reproductive success.  It also made adjustments for income, education and lifestyle choices such as smoking, before applying correlations to determine the direction of evolution.  They also looked at secondary effects, i.e. whether low blood pressure led to younger sexual maturity, or whether the paths were independent.

Based on the results women in the third generation of the study, currently ongoing, are expected to begin their first period a month earlier, and enter menopause a full month later than their mothers and grandmothers, on average.  Heaviness proved to be also be selected, as heavier women have more children, on average.

Professor Stephen Stearns, an evolutionary biologist at Yale University and coauthor of the study states, "The idea that natural selection has stopped operating in humans because we have gotten better at keeping people alive is just plain wrong.  It's interesting that the underlying biological framework is still detectable beneath the culture."

The Yale experts predict that based on the current trends, in the year 2409AD, the average woman in Framingham will be 2 cm  (almost 1 inch) shorter and 1 kg heavier (approximately 2.5 lb).  Women in 2409 AD are predicted to have their period 5 months earlier and to go into menopause 10 months later -- almost a full year later.

Sean G. Byars, a post-doctoral researcher at Yale, was lead author of the paper, and researchers from University of Pennsylvania and the Boston University School of Medicine also contributed to it.  The intriguing study was funded by Yale University and was published in a prestigious journal -- the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences -- on October 19.

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By cludinsk on 11/2/2009 3:01:01 PM , Rating: 5
so by the year 5012 women will be 6 inches tall and weigh 570 pounds...

RE: extrapolation
By bighairycamel on 11/2/2009 3:05:55 PM , Rating: 5
What will they do with all the leftover "No fat chicks" T-shirts?

RE: extrapolation
By lightfoot on 11/2/2009 3:09:47 PM , Rating: 5
And they will be born pregnant and never go through menopause, just like tribbles.

RE: extrapolation
By Motoman on 11/2/2009 3:09:38 PM , Rating: 5
That would be awesome. Then men could just focus on their Lucy Liubots and not have to worry about the human race dying out.

RE: extrapolation
By scrapsma54 on 11/2/2009 3:14:58 PM , Rating: 2
And researchers in the fields of genetics and evolutionary biology are revealing exciting insights into what man (and woman) may look like in the future.

How is this exciting?

RE: extrapolation
By AnnihilatorX on 11/2/2009 3:26:33 PM , Rating: 5
Exciting for any Burger King or McDonald executives I am sure.

RE: extrapolation
By TSS on 11/2/2009 6:22:10 PM , Rating: 5
That's funny actually.

First thing that came to my mind while reading the acticle is in the dark ages, humans where alot shorter. I belive humans got longer as living conditions improved: better food, sanitation, etc.

So if where shrinking again... living conditions must be deteriorating. Even though 1kg really isn't much in 400 years.

RE: extrapolation
By PlasmaBomb on 11/3/2009 4:40:08 AM , Rating: 2

RE: extrapolation
By mikefarinha on 11/2/2009 3:19:42 PM , Rating: 1
Are you taking into account the 'plumping with saltwater' factor?

RE: extrapolation
By Yawgm0th on 11/2/09, Rating: 0
RE: extrapolation
By GhandiInstinct on 11/2/2009 6:25:46 PM , Rating: 3
Technically on a planet with a low enough gravity they could weigh that much and not be fat.

RE: extrapolation
By marsbound2024 on 11/2/2009 7:15:27 PM , Rating: 1
You mean a planet with high enough gravity... :/

RE: extrapolation
By marsbound2024 on 11/5/2009 12:31:47 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure why I got rated down because if you have a low enough gravity, it means that if you weighed that much on that planet then came to Earth, you'd weigh even more so you'd be fat obviously. However, take what you weigh right now--if you are skinny--and go to Jupiter (if it had a solid surface). You would weigh a heck of a lot more and yet still have the same physical appearance. Weight = mass * gravity, folks!

RE: extrapolation
By Fracture on 11/5/2009 5:11:55 PM , Rating: 2
Technically on a planet with a low enough gravity they could weigh that much and not be fat.

You SHOULD have said:

Technically on a planet with a low enough gravity they could be that fat and not weigh that much.

Otherwise in order to "weigh that much" (ie, the same weight), a skinny person would have to be on a high-gravity planet to weigh as much as a fat person would normally.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard
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