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Data from: What have humans done for evolutionary biology? Contributions from genes to populations

Citation

Briga, Michael et al. (2018), Data from: What have humans done for evolutionary biology? Contributions from genes to populations, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.513b9

Abstract

Many fundamental concepts in evolutionary biology were discovered using non-human study systems. Humans are poorly suited to key study designs used to advance this field, and are subject to cultural, technological, and medical influences often considered to restrict the pertinence of human studies to other species and general contexts. Whether studies using current and recent human populations provide insights that have broader biological relevance in evolutionary biology is, therefore, frequently questioned. We first surveyed researchers in evolutionary biology and related fields on their opinions regarding whether studies on contemporary humans can advance evolutionary biology. Almost all 442 participants agreed that humans still evolve, but fewer agreed that this occurs through natural selection. Most agreed that human studies made valuable contributions to evolutionary biology, although those less exposed to human studies expressed more negative views. With a series of examples, we discuss strengths and limitations of evolutionary studies on contemporary humans. These show that human studies provide fundamental insights into evolutionary processes, improve understanding of the biology of many other species, and will make valuable contributions to evolutionary biology in the future.

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