Have you ever felt like your fellow humans are just getting stupider and more emotional? You're not mistaken.
A Stanford University researcher (aptly named Gerald Crabtree) has furthered a similar theory -- that we are now way less smart or "emotionally stable" than our cave-dwelling forebearers.
"I would be willing to wager that if an average citizen of Athens of 1,000 BC were to appear suddenly among us, he or she would be among the brightest and most intellectually alive of our colleagues and companions," Crabtree wrote in a study that appeared in Trends in Genetics. "I would also guess that he or she would be among the most emotionally stable of our friends and colleagues."
How come? Crabtree speculates that in our comfortable world, evolutionary pressures are far less intense, leading to a higher preponderance of dumber people. Even worse, Crabtree hypothesizes that in 3,000 years, humans will endure two or more harmful mutations to our DNA due to all this easy living.
But not all are convinced.
A February New York Times opinion article posited "the average person today would be 30 points above his or her grandparents" on an IQ test, but the author stopped short or saying we are smarter than our ancestors. Instead, he said that we are "more modern" in our thinking.
Others are even more skeptical, especially of Crabtree's gene mutation theory. Professor Steve Jones, a University College London geneticist, dismissed it outright.
“I could just as well argue that mutations have reduced our aggression, our depression and our penis length but no journal would publish that. Why do they publish this?” Jones told the Independent.
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