Thursday, October 13, 2011

Black Death Exposes Human Evolution

Deadly Black Death Bug Hasn't Changed, But We Have - MSNBC 10/12/11

Exciting new findings that the horrific plague, Black Death which killed nearly 1 in 3 Europeans, hasn't changed much in the last 600 or so years. The real story is in the fact that humans have. This is as clear an example of a form of human evolution as we've ever seen. Tiny differences and variations in our DNA allowed some people to avoid being susceptible to the deadly bacteria and, obviously, those traits have then been passed along to descendants who are now not effected by it. Variation in genetic code from generation to generation allow certain differences to take root. As environmental conditions change around us, these variations can become advantageous to survival. Sometimes species don't have the ability to adapt and go extinct. Others have portions of populations that can adapt and they are the ones who continue life on this planet and take it in a new direction. We don't see it on a daily basis as these changes are so minute, but drastic events like meteors and plagues and ice ages really show how the whole process works with stunning clarity.


  1. Amazing. Makes you wonder how long evolution will take to eradicate the tragic illnesses of our current time... And even scarier, what will develop in it's place.

  2. thanks for the comment! It's a little scary to think how much more interdependent we are with the rest of the world nowadays though. If something like this hit the population again, it would literally cripple the whole world. Luckily for us, we have vaccinations and fantastic advances in genetic research to try to keep us ahead of these outbreaks! It seems we are a little more in charge of our own evolution at this point, for better or for worse!