Don't look any further: it doesn't get any better than this!
IT IS a journey that has taken millions of years, but finally, we are approaching our destination.
One of Britain's pre-eminent geneticists has declared that mankind's tumultuous evolution is now close to completion, and we now inhabit utopia.
Professor Steve Jones, head of the department of genetics, evolution and environment at University College London, believes the advancements of the modern age means we are now close to our biological pinnacle.
He is due to elaborate on his controversial theory at a lecture this afternoon, the crux of which suggests we can now expect little in the way of progress.
Last night, Prof Jones said: "If you are worried about what utopia is going to be like, don't.
"At least in the developed world, and at least for the time being, you are living in it now."
However, his peers have urged caution, pointing out that his argument applies only in developed western countries, where medical advances and improved living environments have suppressed evolution and allowed man to prosper.
Prof Jones is also set to point out that the impact of the three components to evolution – natural selection, mutation and random change – has been significantly lessened in modern life.
He explained yesterday: "In ancient times, half our children would have died by the age of 20. Now, in the western world, 98 per cent of them are surviving to the age of 21.
"Our life expectancy is now so good that eliminating all accidents and infectious diseases would only raise it by two years. Natural selection no longer has death as a handy tool."
Mutation rates were also slowing down, he added. And while chemical and radioactive pollution can influence genetic changes, one of the most important mutation triggers is advanced age in men.
He added: "Perhaps surprisingly, the age of reproduction has gone down – the mean age of male reproduction means most conceive no children after the age of 35. Fewer older father means that if anything, mutation is going down."
Random alterations to the human genetic blueprint were also less likely in a world that has become an ethnic melting pot, according to Prof Jones.
He said: "Humans are 10,000 times more common than we should be, according to the rules of the animal kingdom, and we have agriculture to thank for that. Without farming, the world population would probably have reached half a million by now – about the size of the population of Glasgow.
"Worldwide, all populations are becoming connected and the opportunity for random change is dwindling."
Prof Jones is not the only scientist to believe mankind will struggle to evolve from its present state. In his book, Future Evolution, Peter Ward, a paleontologist at the University of Washington, claims that only by interbreeding and allowing bioengineering can a new species emerge.
But Professor Chris Stringer, research leader in human origins at the Natural History Museum, London, said the idea that evolutionary pressures were no longer taking their toll on humanity was true of only western civilisation.
He said: "The argument that modern life has stemmed the effects of evolution is true in some areas, such as the way in which medicine has improved health and wellbeing, and the fact I am not out in the cold and wet, but sitting in a nice, warm office with heat and clothing. But that is very much something that applies only in developed, western countries. You only need look to Africa to see how HIV/Aids is still having an enormous impact on selection, and I believe that genetics will continue to play a part in our evolution."
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 2 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 21 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 5 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West