Evolution has worked to improve the genetic foundations of our health for millions of years now but new research suggests that things may be reversing and that might spell bad news for modern humans in the modern world. The study was conducted by the Georgia Institute of Technology recently.
Human evolution has worked to weed out genetic variants that are associated with diseases and it’s worked to promote variants that protect us against certain diseases according to this new study which was a comparative genetics study. However, for some odd reason over the past 500 to 1000 years it appears things have reversed. For example, the study has concluded that cardiovascular problems were much more common in our ancient human ancestors than they are today. What this means is that some diseases may be on the rise in modern humans and especially in terms of mental health.
Large populations are better able to purge disease causing gene variants and today with the human population near 7 billion people that is happening but still for some reason it appears this trend has been reversing over the past 500-1000 years. The study also found that Neanderthals and Denisovans had a lot more alleles (genetic variants) that promoted disease than we do today including heart disease. Over the course of time things got better and the variants for such widespread diseases were apparently weeded out as protective alleles rose. Continue Reading
Give me another Barkeep!
It appears that chimps in Guinea may have a substance abuse problem. There alcoholic beverage of choice? Fermented palm sap and they use a leafy spoon to get it and apparently these booze loving chimps get it a lot! Researchers observed chimps in west Africa over a 17 year period and noted their addiction to the sappy fermentation and these chimps regularly partook of the alcoholic substance often in large quantities. The sap has an alcohol content about the same as a good strong ale.
You might not have heard of it but there is something called the “Drunken Monkey Hypothesis” which postulates that the human attraction to alcohol may come from dependence of primate ancestors on ripe and fermenting fruits. In this 2015 study chimps were observed not only drinking large amounts of the fermented sap but also displaying obvious signs of being DRUNK! These chimps seem to prefer getting drunk during the day and sleeping at night and I bet they sleep well. 🙂
The study may help us to better understand the development of alcoholism in humans better. It has been suggested that apes and ancient humans developed an addiction to the sugar found in ripe and over ripped fruits. Addiction to the sugar content in alcohol is one of the theories for alcoholism in humans. But this sugar addiction also has other implications such as obesity especially in humans.