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Dunce Life

Bad news, urbanite. Living in the big city is so damn easy it's making you stupid.
Kerri Connolly
Κείμενο Kerri Connolly

Remember that time you, like, totally owned that Zizek thesis in art semiotics? Or that degree you got in post-reunification Germanic studies? Or how you were--no big deal, guys--a National Merit Finalist? Yeah, well, hate to break it to you Einstein, but you’re probably not even as bright as humans were just a few thousand years ago. So don’t rush to pat yourself on the back.

According to research by geneticist Dr. Gerald Crabtree of the eponymous Crabtree Laboratory at Stanford University, the genes that are directly responsible for our intellectual and emotional skills are basically eroding as we speak.

But let’s backtrack for a sec. Between 2,000 and 5,000 genes out of our much larger genetic makeup serve as the building blocks that shape our superior cognitive ability. Somewhere over the course of the last 500,000 to 50,000 years, those few thousand genes were slowly refined in groups of early humans, enabling us to perform feats of mental strength like hunting and tracking game, domesticating plants and animals, and eventually, parallel parking. (For the record: I can do exactly none of these things.)

And yet, despite the rapid rise of human intelligence over a relatively short period of time in human evolution, Dr. Crabtree estimates that humans are slowly eliminating superior genetic traits, or components of traits, out of our genetic pool.

Read the rest over at Motherboard.