It sounds sordid at worst and lazy at best, but in fact, the Fugates' tale is a miniature version of the story of human coupling since time immemorial. Local populations interbreed, causing a sharing of genes, a resulting in-group physical resemblance and, eventually, identification as a distinct race or ethnic group. According to Stephen Stearns, a Yale professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, before the invention of the bicycle, the average distance between the birthplaces of spouses in England was 1 mile 1.
During the latter half of the 19th century, bikes upped the distance men went courting to 30 miles 48 km , on average. Scholars have identified similar patterns in other European countries. Widespread use of bicycles stimulated the grading and paving of roads, lending credence to the Fugate clan's excuse and making way for the introduction of automobiles.
Love's horizons have kept expanding ever since. Stearns says globalization, immigration, cultural diffusion and the ease of modern travel will gradually homogenize the human population , averaging out more and more people's traits. Because recessive traits depend on two copies of the same gene pairing up in order to get expressed, these traits will express themselves more rarely, and dominant traits will become the norm.
In short, blue skin is out.
Brown skin is in. Already in the United States, another recessive trait, blue eyes, has grown far less common. A study by the epidemiologists Mark Grant and Diane Lauderdale found that only 1 in 6 non-Hispanic white Americans has blue eyes, down from more than half of the U.
Assortative mating is the tendency of people to mate with members of their same ancestral group — a tendency that has seemingly lessened over time. Lauderdale says blue eyes won't die out completely; they'll simply stabilize at a low level that reflects the chance of mating between two individuals possessing recessive blue-eye genes. Evolution and Human Behavior, 22 4 , —;. Crandall, C. Anti-fat prejudice. Nelson Ed. Diener, E.
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