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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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I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By ThePooBurner on 11/2/2009 3:02:27 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
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.


Perhaps those in Farmington just like fatties?




RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By itlnstln on 11/2/2009 3:05:57 PM , Rating: 5
Well, I, for one, like big butts, and I cannot lie.


RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By mikefarinha on 11/2/2009 3:20:46 PM , Rating: 5
I can't deny that, brother.


RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By crfog on 11/2/2009 4:40:25 PM , Rating: 2
I tend to be aroused by girls with large, round butts and itty bitty waists...


RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By Einy0 on 11/2/09, Rating: 0
RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By Myg on 11/2/2009 5:27:11 PM , Rating: 1
I wish they would fire or ban Jason from continuing blogging here...

This agenda based reporting is making my physically ill. I miss the old DT.


RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By Reclaimer77 on 11/2/09, Rating: 0
RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By ThePooBurner on 11/2/2009 5:45:44 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah, Selective breeding != Evolution.


RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By PhatoseAlpha on 11/2/2009 6:52:54 PM , Rating: 5
Eh, what? Selective breeding is a rather major mechanism of evolution, actually. It's not just who lives and who dies, but who breeds, and mate selection is a rather large part of an awful lot of animal behaviors.


RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By Cypherdude1 on 11/2/09, Rating: 0
By PlasmaBomb on 11/3/2009 4:21:46 AM , Rating: 3
Somewhere other than Framingham...


By ThePooBurner on 11/6/2009 3:54:51 PM , Rating: 1
I disagree. Selective breeding allows for desirable *existing* traits to be multiplied and more prevalent in the gene pool. Evolution, on the other hand, is a mutation or a whole new trait that did not previously exist. For example, selectively breeding a T-rex population will never result in a canary. It will only result in t-rexs with particular t-rex traits.

Ero, this is NOT evolution in any way, shape, or form. This is purely breeding.


RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By LumbergTech on 11/2/2009 6:52:58 PM , Rating: 3
new scientist magazine disagrees


RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By Reclaimer77 on 11/2/2009 6:58:26 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry but a period of 75 years is rediculously short time period for evolution to take place.

Selective breeding or a change brought on from external factors or dietary habit's is NOT evolution.

Now, find me a genetic mutation or change in DNA causing this trend, and show that's it's being passed on genetically, and then you have something. But this study is doing nothing more than observing something, forming a hypothosis based on a short time period and small sampling size, and forming a conclusion. That is no proof of evolution.


RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By PhatoseAlpha on 11/2/2009 8:07:36 PM , Rating: 4
Genetic mutations are one of many mechanism by which genetic variation occurs.

Selective breeding and differential reproduction and survival due to the environment (ie, your external factors) is the very definition of natural selection. Your assertion that these are not evolution is not merely wrong - it's misunderstanding a fundamental portion of evolution to such an extent that it's mind boggling.


RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By Reclaimer77 on 11/2/2009 9:45:11 PM , Rating: 3
sigh..

Do I have to point out that his "proof", is that in hundreds of years women will be one inch shorter and slightly heavier ?

I love how we're arguing like this is an absolute given already...


RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By PhatoseAlpha on 11/2/2009 11:28:49 PM , Rating: 3
We're not arguing like this is an absolute given already. Statistically I'd expect the study to be on shaky ground, and claims it's proof of anything are highly questionable.

But - even if the study is completely wrong and proves nothing, incorrect counter arguements are still incorrect.


By Alexstarfire on 11/2/2009 11:50:15 PM , Rating: 1
I agree. Reclaimer is failing to understand the very meaning of the word evolution. He would like it to be a very limited definition of which that simply isn't the case. If you want genetic mutation then go look around Chernobyl I'm sure they've had some of the "evolution" you're looking for. While I can understand your logic it just simply isn't the case. If our tastes and such change, such as who we desire to mate with, it's all chemistry, literally. Just because we can't measure everything in the brain doesn't mean it's not evolving.


RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By mcnabney on 11/3/2009 9:41:20 AM , Rating: 4
Let's just leave the article at bad science. First, societal selective pressures and diet changes clearly obliterate any specific, biological, selective pressure on the population. Second, the didn't even touch on the subject of race, since different races bring different portfolios of averages. More hispanics marrying into a white communinity is going to make subsequent generations shorter. But that is not evolution. That is just a side effect of racial blending and hybridism.


By kaoken on 11/3/2009 1:50:48 PM , Rating: 2
Well if a person of mix race has an advantage over other people, then I'd say that's evolution right there.


By William Gaatjes on 11/4/2009 9:34:10 PM , Rating: 1
Indeed. How you live your life influences your offspring. Although for example alcohol abuse may not effect your children's dna, When you children have children, your grandchildren can be affected. Even living on a certain diet can cause this effect. In essence this means that you are what you eat, but at certain right situations, your children become what you eat as well.

To quote myself :
quote:
That people realize that what negative thing they do, lives on beyond tomorrow in their offspring.


Because environmental effects will be imprinted in your dna when :

A: The egg cells are formed in the human female fetus .

B: When the spermatogonium (sperm stem cells) are formed in the adolescent human male.

This means that social and environmental factors affect your DNA. It is not like you mutate in a heavy way, it is more that the amount of gene expression alters for the affected genes. Our DNA is not a basic blue print, many genes are switched on simultaneously , reducing the amounts of genes needed. But making our gene expression far more complex and thus at the same time more susceptible to the environment we live in.

It is called epigenetics.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigenetics

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromosome_15_(human)

An example is that the deletion or malfunction of 1 gene on chromosome 15 can cause 2 different genetic disorders.
Because the same gene is used differently depending if it is from your father or mother.

To do a little speculation :

In essence if you want to make true clones through vertical gene transfer not susceptible to the environment , you would have to create an entire new human being with DNA sequences for every step in that we are formed. Instead of needing multiple genes in the right amount simultaneously, we would need for every step one gene that is to be turned on or off. That would however possibly make our dna huge.


RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By B166ER on 11/3/09, Rating: -1
RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By Myg on 11/3/09, Rating: -1
RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By muIIet on 11/2/2009 7:18:21 PM , Rating: 2
What about gravity?


RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By PlasmaBomb on 11/3/2009 4:25:11 AM , Rating: 2
Has someone turned it up?


RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By FATCamaro on 11/3/2009 10:11:14 AM , Rating: 2
Absolutely amazing


By EasyC on 11/4/2009 12:44:24 PM , Rating: 2
FATCamaro LOL.

Up here in the northeast, the women are def fatter. People are just lazy to begin with.

Next thing there will be an article about how McDonalds an Burger King are affecting evolution.


By AWeav09 on 11/2/2009 8:17:14 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, I want to approach from the front when I notice that a woman has full buttocks.


By rburnham on 11/5/2009 10:58:05 AM , Rating: 2
We must not overlook the round things in my face.


By JoshuaBuss on 11/2/2009 3:06:45 PM , Rating: 2
this is what I'm wondering.


RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By kattanna on 11/2/2009 3:22:49 PM , Rating: 2
aye, i'd like to see the same study done in a generally warmer climate, like here in los angeles.


RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By FITCamaro on 11/2/2009 3:40:08 PM , Rating: 5
Then the study would determine that women are evolving into silicone based life.


By Scabies on 11/2/2009 3:45:49 PM , Rating: 5
and could not sustain a population through orthodox reproduction


RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By mattclary on 11/2/09, Rating: 0
By Zoomer on 11/2/2009 6:06:12 PM , Rating: 2
IVF, more likely.


RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By jonmcc33 on 11/3/2009 8:41:34 AM , Rating: 2
Or Florida. Saw plenty of fat women there but my eyeballs focused on all the taller, athletic looking women in bikinis.


By michael2k on 11/3/2009 10:20:17 AM , Rating: 2
Yet it is the ones who reproduce that matter, no?


RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By Alexstarfire on 11/2/2009 3:25:37 PM , Rating: 2
Shorter and fatter = less cholesterol and lower blood pressure? How did they come to that conclusion?


RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By kattanna on 11/2/2009 4:26:18 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Shorter and fatter = less cholesterol and lower blood pressure? How did they come to that conclusion?


probably the same way a dozen cherry picked tree rings spells out the end of the world through flooding and ever increasing global temperatures

;>)


By theapparition on 11/2/2009 5:42:47 PM , Rating: 3
This is being so overexaggerated.

In 400 years, they expect the average women to weigh 2.2lbs more and be close to an inch shorter. What's the big deal????

Even if the studies small sample size and extrapolations are questionable.


By Ammohunt on 11/3/2009 1:54:22 PM , Rating: 2
Being overweight does not mean you are un-health as a matter of fact the opposite is more often true esspecially in the wild and when it comes to fitness to reproduce.


By callmeroy on 11/4/2009 9:55:46 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Shorter and fatter = less cholesterol and lower blood pressure? How did they come to that conclusion?


Amazingly a lot of folks make this same FALSE assumption -- high cholesterol isn't directly tied to being over weight. Logically it makes sense because the assumption goes that if someone is overweight they are probably eating lots of junk food. However, there are folks I know and I myself am about 40 pounds overweight (btw I'm working on it -- 4 months ago I was 60 pounds overweight!) and have "healthy" levels of cholesterol. Any doctor worth his salt will deem any cholestrol level above 150-160ish to be starting to lean toward the warning zone, over 200 you just flat out have high cholesterol. I know more than a few folks who are anywhere from 20 to one friend of mine who is easily 100 pounds overweight and yet their cholesterol levels are all well below 200. Oddly enough since these folks are all aware of their health risks and are trying to get in better shape, yes -- in fact we have spoken about cholesterol levels as a group of friends while working out...

Being overweight is mostly a self control/will power thing, but I do feel some people just don't understand that for some very overweight folks its WAY more than self-control or will power....but you can preach that until you are blue in the face and some folks will NEVER understand it.


RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By mooncancook on 11/2/2009 5:00:18 PM , Rating: 2
yeah, and how about do one study based on the population in Tokyo, Japan and another one based on some African Villages and tell us if the trend is the same


RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By Zoomer on 11/2/2009 6:07:44 PM , Rating: 2
It'll probably be bad for the Tokyo case. They are being exposed to more milk and red meat earlier than before.


By mooncancook on 11/2/2009 7:24:31 PM , Rating: 3
They definitely keep getting taller, so should we conclude that human will evolve to be taller and taller at the "Tokyo rate" based on the study of the population in Tokyo over the last few generations?


RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By iFX on 11/2/2009 6:23:51 PM , Rating: 2
That's as good an explanation as the evolution fairy selecting body types at random.


RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By PlasmaBomb on 11/3/2009 4:36:47 AM , Rating: 2
Or that if you have relatively free access to high energy foods and lead a sedentary lifestyle you will be fatter...


RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By iFX on 11/3/2009 11:05:55 AM , Rating: 2
Absolutely.


RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By UltraWide on 11/2/2009 7:57:16 PM , Rating: 2
When you sample from the population from any region, it is representative of the country as a whole; statistically. :)

But these results are scary and SAD. BARF


By Alexstarfire on 11/2/2009 8:02:31 PM , Rating: 2
That's not a sample though. It'd be like having a plate of 50 hot wings, eating one and determining what the rest are going to be. That 1 might be lemon pepper but the rest are ranch. The only thing this "study" is is a sample of that town, perhaps the county or state depending on the rest of the state.


RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By AToZKillin on 11/2/2009 9:37:57 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sprung.


By kmmatney on 11/2/2009 9:51:38 PM , Rating: 2
I've come undone


By nilepez on 11/3/2009 1:07:44 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
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.


What's not clear is did they have more children because they were fat or are they fatter because they had more children?

Time will tell, but I won't be alive for the final report ;)


By atlmann10 on 11/3/2009 3:07:19 AM , Rating: 2
Framingham Massachusetts evolution of under 300 women. I would think this is a very large basis for the prediction of human evolution. I would also agree with the statements about breading and animal attraction.

Maybe this points to the fact that nature doesn't want anyone there any more. So it will make them women short and fat. Yes short fat women tend to have more children, which would largely be because short fat women need something to do. I would say an evolutionary study based on a small Massachusetts town has as much relevance on human evolution as the color of tomatoes in New England which are planted for early harvest.

That would be nothing at all. 2600 or whatever number of people in any test or study is irrelevant as that is not even 1/100th percent of the earths population, then you split it in half by sex and it means even less.


RE: I offer an alternate hypothysis...
By drycrust on 11/3/2009 3:54:32 AM , Rating: 2
How is this evolution? Are they going to develop fins and swim everywhere? I think this is just idiotic because being overweight not only reduces fertility, it also shortens life, makes getting a partner more difficult, increases health costs, etc.


By michael2k on 11/3/2009 10:22:58 AM , Rating: 2
You seem to overlook bigger boobs and hips. Those could get bigger without hurting health or fertility.


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