Scientists: Sudden Climate Change May Have Forced Evolution

The results of the latest Gallup poll on the origin of humanity: creationism.  That’s how most Americans answered a recent poll, at least, the results of which were published in June of 2012 by Gallup Politics.

Research was conducted in Tanzania Photo: Alamy


Research was conducted in Tanzania Photo: Alamy

A sample of over 1,000 adults from coast-to-coast were quizzed on their thoughts regarding human origin, and 46 percent responded that they believe God created human beings pretty much in their present form during a single instance that occurred during the last 10,000 years.

Regardless of if you agree or disagree with the findings, the results of the poll reveal that, even slightly, Americans have grown more, not less religious during the last 30 years. Since Gallup first asking Americans for their input on the origins of humanity in 1982, the proportion of those who believe in creationism has actually grown. The latest findings show a slight increase in faith-based explanation when compared with the results that researchers came upon back in 1982 when the question was first asked; at the time, 44 percent of Americans polled said that believed that Gods created humans in their present form, showing a 2 percentage point change in 30 years’ time.

Naturally, scientists have a different opinion, and I’ll take science over religious claptrap any day.  Evolution can be influenced however, and it appears climate change played a distinct role in the process.

Early humans evolved in fits and starts due to rapid environmental changes—not gradually as scientists used to think, according to a new study. Analyzing lake sediments in northern Tanzania, scientists from Penn State and Rutgers University concluded that climate change altered the landscape back and forth from grassland to woodland five or six times over 200,000 years, the Telegraph reports. That would have changed food availability, diet, and means of acquiring good—which “can trigger evolutionary mechanisms,” says Penn State professor Katherine Freeman.

“The result can be increased brain size and cognition, changes in locomotion and even social changes—how you interact with others in a group.” Several factors may have triggered the climate changes about 2 million years ago, including changes in sea temperature and the Earth’s movement around the sun. Any change in the amount of sunshine, for example, would have altered rain patterns that in turn affected plant patterns. “The research points to the importance of water in an arid landscape like Africa,” says a graduate student on the project. The findings conflict with the “Great Drying,” the view that Africa gradually dried out over 3 million years.

Many thanks to Newser and USA News for their contributions to this story.

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Posted by on December 30, 2012. Filed under SCI/TECH/HOME/TRAVEL. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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5 Responses to Scientists: Sudden Climate Change May Have Forced Evolution

  1. Caroline Taylor

    December 30, 2012 at 8:43 am

    No amount of evidence will ever convince the bible bangers. The religious would rather be deluded into believing a mythical cloud hopper created it all in one week.

  2. bitcodavid

    December 30, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Well, obviously – regardless of what 47 percent of our Idiocracy believes – Creationism is nonsense. I don’t know about the origins of Mankind as a species, but I do believe however, in the 2001 – a Space Odyssey telling of the origin of civilization. One peaceful ape bonks another peaceful ape on the head, with a femur bone, and the subtitle reads: “Civilization is born.”

    Hey. Happy New Year to Mad Mike and all the writers and readers of MMA. 🙂

  3. James Smith

    December 30, 2012 at 8:48 am

    It seems pretty evident to me. Even as our society becomes ever more technological, the average educational level has been falling.
    Faith-based explanations are much easier than thinking.

    Remember the morons that tweeted “We wanna watch football” because the president.s speech interrupted their bread and circuses?

    How ironic it was that the least educated used the tools provided by the most knowledgeable to spout their racism and stupidity.

    It also seems that, as the number of openly non-believers grows, the remaining believers become even more radically fundamental in their willful ignorance.

  4. Les Carpenter

    December 30, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Organized religions are now and always have been about controlling human ethics and morality. This is best achieved through creating guilt and fear while fostering a certain ignorance.

    And so it has been throughout recorded history, and so it continues.

    • James Smith

      December 31, 2012 at 5:51 am

      Well-expressed, Les.

      As science and knowledge is changing the world, religion is holding it back. The more their control erodes, the more they scream “Persecution!” and “You’re going to hell!” Those old complaints and threats don’t work any more, but they have nothing else to offer.