Humans may be gradually losing intelligence, according to a new study. The study, published (Nov. 12) in the Cell Press journal Trends in Genetics, argues that humans lost the evolutionary pressure to be smart once we started living in dense agricultural settlements several thousand years ago. According to the study, the genes that give us brain power are particularly susceptible to mutations that lower intelligence. The good news is that we’ve been smart enough to advance our scientific understanding of genes to the extent that we’re bound to figure out how to eradicate the mutations. Take that natural selection!
“A hunter-gatherer who did not correctly conceive a solution to providing food or shelter probably died, along with his/her progeny, whereas a modern Wall Street executive that made a similar conceptual mistake would receive a substantial bonus and be a more attractive mate. Clearly, extreme selection is a thing of the past,” the researchers write in the journal article.