Humans are continuing to evolve, but there's decreased pressure on intelligence, the Economist reports.
Researchers led by the University of Queensland's Peter Visscher sifted through UK Biobank data, which houses genetic and medical data on more than 500,000 people for evidence of linear and nonlinear natural selection. As they report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week, the researchers uncovered widespread, but weak, stabilizing and directional selection among this cohort.
In particular, the researchers found that, among men, higher weight was linked to increased reproductive success, while, among women, there was a weaker link between the two. For both men and women, though the effect was stronger among women, increased educational attainment and fluid intelligence score was linked to decreased reproductive success.
"We wanted to try to understand the evolutionary forces that are affecting contemporary human traits, including height and BMI," first author Jaleal Sanjak from the University of California, Irvine, tells Yahoo News UK.