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人类仍在进化吗?

时间:2011-05-07 09:04来源:网易探索 作者:wc 点击:
化石记录向我们显示,所有的物种最终都会灭绝,但在此之前往往存在数百万年。与过去或现在的任何其他物种相比,人类掌控自身命运的能力都更强——如果我们确实走向灭绝,那么几乎可以肯定的是这一结果是由我们自身的行为造成的。

人类仍在进化吗?未来,进化后的我们会拥有怎样的外表?如同电影里一样头更大、腿更短吗?人类会有灭绝的一天吗?

在过去几个世纪中,我们看到的人口变化是饮食的改善和公共卫生的提高的结果,而非进化(即基因变化)的影响。如果像达尔文和多数生物学家所言,进化是物竞天择的结果,那么只有当头大腿短的个体能够比头小腿长的个体繁衍出生存能力更强的后代这个假设成立时,人类才可能在未来进化得头更大、腿更短。我怀疑这种假设的正确性。因此,科幻小说中的预测是不可能成为现实的,而且我们也很难获知人类将在未来如何进化。化石记录向我们显示,所有的物种最终都会灭绝,但在此之前往往存在数百万年。与过去或现在的任何其他物种相比,人类掌控自身命运的能力都更强——如果我们确实走向灭绝,那么几乎可以肯定的是这一结果是由我们自身的行为造成的。

Does human being still evolve? What will we look like in future with evolution, with bigger heads and shorter legs as seen in the films? Will human being go extinct one day?

The changes we have seen in human populations over the last few centuries have been due to better diet and public health, not to evolution (i.e. genetic change). If evolution is driven by Natural Selection, as Darwin and most biologists believe, then the only way that humans could evolve bigger brains and shorter legs in the future would be if individuals with bigger brains and shorter legs left more viable offspring than those with small brains and long legs. I doubt this to be correct. So, the science fiction predictions are unlikely to come true and it is hard to see how, if at all, humans will evolve in the future. The fossil record shows us that all species eventually become extinct, but often after several million years of existence. Humans hold their fate much more in their own hands than any other species past or present - if we do become extinct it will almost certainly be down to our own actions.

作者简介

Paul D. Taylor博士

Paul D. Taylor博士出生于英国赫尔市,获得英国杜伦大学的本科学位,并且在1977年,在该大学取得了博士学位;之后又在威尔士大学斯旺西分校Derek Ager教授的指导下,取得了博士后奖学金。在此之后,1979年Taylor博士,作为一名古生物学的研究者,加入了大英博物馆(自然历史分馆),即英国自然历史博物馆。自1990年起至2003年,Taylor博士一直是无脊椎动物和植物研究部门的主任。在世界各地,Taylor博士曾开展了一系列的科学研究工作,其中包括沙特阿拉伯、印度、日本、新西兰、俄罗斯、斯匹次卑尔根、美国以及许多西方国家。同时他曾在奥塔歌大学(新西兰),法国国立自然史博物馆(巴黎),加州大学洛杉矶分校和日本北海道大学都有过客座研究交流的经历。作为伦敦林耐学会的成员;五本著作和200多篇科学文献的作者及编辑;Taylor博士服务于许多国家和国际科学委员会,编辑委员会,目前仍是系统古生物杂志的主编。1992年,由于它在系统古生物领域发表了一篇杰出的著作,因此赢得了古生物学大奖。Taylor博士的研究领域包括无脊椎动物的化石,特别是苔藓虫。他对生物的进化以及灭绝的过程十分感兴趣。在2008年12月的香港科技节上,他曾代表英国文化协会,作了两场演讲以及四场工作坊来探究有关于进化与化石的主题。

Biography – Dr Paul D. Taylor

       Born in Hull, England, Paul Taylor received his undergraduate degree (BSc in Geology, 1974) from the University of Durham and stayed there to complete a PhD in 1977. After undertaking a postdoctoral fellowship under the guidance of Professor Derek Ager at the University College of Swansea, he joined in 1979 the then British Museum (Natural History), now The Natural History Museum, London, as a researcher in the Department of Palaeontology. From 1990 until 2003 he served as Head of the Invertebrates and Plants Division. Dr Taylor has carried out scientific fieldwork in various parts of the world, including Arabia, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, Spitsbergen, many European countries and the USA. He has held Visiting Research positions at the University of Otago (New Zealand), the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle (Paris), University of California Los Angeles, and Hokkaido University (Japan). Fellow of the Linnean Society of London and author or editor of 5 books and more than 200 scientific articles, he has served on many national and international scientific committees and editorial boards, and is currently Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. In 1992 he was co-recipient of the Paleontological Society’s award for the most outstanding monograph in systematic palaeontology. Dr Taylor’s research concerns invertebrate fossils, especially bryozoans. He is interested in evolution and extinction. In December 2008 he gave two lecture and four demonstrations about evolution and fossils at the Hong Kong Science Festival on behalf of the British Council.

(责任编辑:wc)
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