Episode 032

Dr. Scott Solomon - Are Humans Still Evolving?

Dr. Scott Solomon@ScottESolomon is an evolutionary biologist, ecologist, science writer, and professor at Rice University. His writing has been featured in Slate, Nautilus, Wired.com, and Business InsiderHis most recent book is aptly titled "Future Humans: Inside the Science of Our Continuing Evolution," in which he analyzes and answers the principled question: Are humans still evolving? 

If evolving, how will humans look in 100,000 years? What role does epigenetics play in modern day diseases? If we colonize Mars, how will the change in gravity and atmosphere affect our biology? Will humans on Mars diverge from those on Earth? These are some of the questions we came into this episode pondering

Dr. Solomon takes the bus down a winding and twisting road to help us better understand how evolutionary biology is impacting modern-day and future life on this planet. He provides explanation and insight into some of the mechanisms that affect evolution; mate selection, disease, and culture.

Don't worry - the bus doesn't stop there. After we breeze past those topics the discussion broadens into some more arcane fields. The bus discusses the effects of bacteria on health and the gut-biome, the potential of virtual reality to evolutionary pressures, CRISPR and genetic sequencing's potential, and whether online dating is messing up natural sexual cues in the search for a mate.

This episode was an INCREDIBLE episode all around. The coup de grace is a lasting discussion on the colonization of Mars. Dr. Solomon helps us better understand how humans living on Mars could diverge from those on Earth. It's quite thorough and fun.

Looking for another science episode? We spoke with Michael Hinden extensively about botany and epigenetics in Episode 026. Listen to it here.