Too clever to make babies

If human evolution has not stopped, one may wonder what traits are being selected by modern evolutionary pressures.

A study(1) published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examine how genetic contributions to certain human traits correlate with relative Lifetime Reproductive Success (or rLRS) which is essentially a measure of a person’s baby-making ability over the course of their lifetimes—the true measure of an individual’s biological success.

Bar plots showing genetic correlations between a selection of traits and rLRS for females (red) and males (blue). Bars are labeled with the following abbreviated trait descriptions: age at menarche (AAM), age at first birth (AFB), age at menopause (AMP), body-fat percentage (BFP), body-mass index (BMI), basal metabolic rate (BMR), educational attainment (EA), fluid intelligence score (FIS), hip circumference (HC), height (HT), waist circumference (WC), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), and weight (WT).

Neither “educational attainment” (EA) nor “fluid intelligent score” (FIS) seems to add to reproductive success. Quite the contrary, except for age at first birth in women, both traits exhibit the highest negative correlation!

Maybe it is not surprising, but very likely you are already too clever and well educated for reproduction!


(1) Jaleal S. Sanjak, Julia Sidorenko, Matthew R. Robinson, Kevin R. Thornton, and Peter M. Visscher, “Evidence of directional and stabilizing selection in contemporary humans” PNAS 2017 ; published ahead of print December 18, 2017, doi:10.1073/pnas.1707227114

One comment

  1. Funny to read when you are already a well educated mother of four. So, either I am an exceptiom, or I am dumb or both. 😂

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