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Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Are Humans Still Evolving?

April 30, 2011, 4:06 AM

What's the Latest Development?

After studying schools of elephant fish who by nature have complex brain processes, scientists at Washington University have concluded that brain evolution triggers increased diversification and speciation, the process that allows one species to evolve into two or more. "Biologist Bruce Carlson has studied roughly 200 species of these fish for many years, and wanted to find out if there was any connection between the structure of the fishes' brains and their rapid speciation. What he found was that brain complexity seemed to cause fish to evolve and diversify quickly."

What's the Big Idea?

What are the implications of these studies for humans? Our brains are as complex as they come, capable of a higher-degree of consciousness than any species on the planet. Does this mean that we are headed toward new speciation? "Perhaps humans who live in low-sensory bombardment areas in rural regions will remain Homo sapiens while the rest of us become weird new creatures who are able to navigate narrow streets covered in augmented reality overlays?" Since humans have manipulated our environment to a very high degree, there are fewer natural pressures that select survivors, but human-machine hybrids may usher in a new era of human evolution.


Are Humans Still Evolving?

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