Friday, 24 August 2007

Hall of Human Origins

All species consist of individuals that differ at some level. In Homo sapiens, population diversity arose as small groups occupied varied environments around the world. Localized populations changed due to genetic drift and natural selection. For example, some populations eventually showed more susceptibility to certain diseases, or more ability to digest certain foods. Superficial differences in stature and hair, eye, and skin color also arose among individuals and populations.Although these population changes take place at a genetic level, it does not mean that genes define "race." Race is cultural and social, not biological.Small, isolated groups are less and less prevalent in the human population. Our population is now abundant, consisting of larger, varied groups that intermingle and overlap. Since humans reproduce both within and between groups, we constantly mix genetic information. As a result, genetic differences between people of the same "racial" group can be greater than the those between people of two different groups. Furthermore, influences other than genes—such as hormones and environmental factors—also contribute to individual variation (go).

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