Scientists Discover Evidence of Ongoing Human Evolution

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. rapid / ˈræp ɪd / (adj) – happening in a short time or a quick manner

    The city is experiencing rapid economic growth because of tourism.

  2. artery / ˈɑr tə ri / (n) – a tube in the body that carries blood from the heart to other organs

    Fatty foods can block the arteries.

  3. forearm / ˈfɔrˌɑrm / (n) – the part of the arm between the elbow and the hand

    He broke his forearm after crashing his bike.

  4. anatomical / ˌæn əˈtɒm ɪ kəl / (adj) – relating to the physical bodies of living things

    Our biology professor showed us the anatomical structures of snakes and lizards.

  5. womb / wum / (n) – the internal organ in which a baby develops before being born

    She felt the baby moving inside her womb.


Read the text below.

Australian scientists are suggesting that they have found evidence that humans are continuing to evolve at a rapid rate.

The scientists believe that small but significant changes in the human body such as the absence of wisdom teeth and the presence of the median artery in the forearm are evidence that humans are still evolving. According to researcher Teghan Lucas, some babies are born without wisdom teeth because human faces are becoming shorter, with smaller jaws that have less room for teeth. She noted that these anatomical changes are happening as a result of the changes in our ancestors’ diets as they learned to cook and process foods more.

The research also revealed that more people have the median artery, the main blood vessel responsible for blood supply in the hand and forearm. The median artery develops while a baby is still in the womb but usually disappears before birth. It is then replaced by two other arteries, the radial and ulnar arteries.

However, the researchers found that more people have retained the median artery since the 1880s, making all three arteries present in their forearms. Currently, around 35% of people have all three arteries, and experts predict that the majority of the population will have them by 2100.

According to Lucas, their findings show that humans are evolving much faster compared to any other point within the past 250 years, which contradicts the belief that human evolution has already reached its final stage.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think human evolution will ever reach a final stage? Why or why not?
• Do you think scientists should focus more on the evolution of humans or other animals? Explain.

Discussion B

• Do you think it’s important to study the evolution of humans? Why or why not?
• Do you think humans will further evolve in the near future? Why or why not?