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Friday, June 15, 2007

Thought for the day

A while back, someone mentioned to me that human beings left Africa roughly 40,000 years or so, marking that start of Homo sapiens as a species. That works out to about 2000 generations. In evolutionary terms, that's pretty much nothing. If you apply the same thing to E. coli, the scientists workhorse bacteria, which doubles every 20 minutes or so, you'd get about 27 days of recorded history. That is to say, if E. coli suddenly developed intelligence today, by sometime in mid July, they'd have 2000 generations. Recorded history is roughly a quarter of that, meaning that some time next week, they'd have kept records over as many generations as we have.

If it takes bacteria a few years just to develop resistance to an antibiotic (tens of thousands of generations), how long will it take humans to change in any noticeable way?



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