Darwin on Steroids

There’s little doubt that the human body is changing under our very eyes. Human evolution is accelerating, leading to bulkier athletes, taller people and ever more precocious young people.

Michael Tchong

December 27, 2014
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There’s little doubt that the human body has changed markedly over the past century. One glance at the above illustration shows how the physiology of human beings is evolving. We’re compressing evolution. You might call this trend “Darwin on Steroids.”

From Marion Jones to Barry Bonds to Lance Armstrong to Alex Rodriguez, the growing use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) is proving to be an unstoppable force. While 69% of Americans believe steroids use in sports should be banned, a nagging “approval creep” is setting in.

The 31% who now believe PEDs should be allowed in sports is nearly triple the 13% of Facebook users who, when polled by Ubercool in 2009, reported that steroids should be legalized. Another 12% were not so sure.

The evolution of American football players clearly shows the “Darwin on Steroids” effect. The U.S. is breeding their favorite gladiators bigger and stronger, so they can better compete in their quasi “sudden death” matches.

As Wikipedia notes, “performance-enhancing drugs’ is a popular term that refers to anabolic steroids or their precursors, which explains the colloquial term “steroids.” Anti-doping organizations apply the PED term broadly.

Athletes who use PEDs are an exponent of the “Darwin on Steroids” trend, a trend that is propelled by the Time Compression Ubertrend, a trend that is accelerating the evolution of life:

Steroids in Sports
The use of testosterone and other other artificial methods like the human growth hormone HGH, has exploded in the past three decades, especially in professional sports. Russian weightlifters first used testosterone at the 1954 Vienna weightlifting championships.

No wonder that 60 years later steroid use in professional sports is rampant, despite the valiant efforts of authorities to keep sports clean from drugs and other artificial means of “cheating”:

  • Barry Bonds – Although most of the baseball-loving world could care less that Barry Bonds took steroids, it’s quite evident that Bonds had some outside assistance. After all, the San Francisco Giants outfielder, hit a record-setting 73 home runs at age 37, significantly past the prime age of most baseball players.

In less than 20 years, Bonds morphed from a 185-pound (84kg) Pittsburgh Pirate to a hulking, 230-pound (104kg) Giants outfielder, who, suddenly at age 37, hit a record-setting 73 home runs.

  • Lance Armstrong – Another “miracle” happened to Lance Armstrong. After surviving a near-death bout with testicular cancer, Armstrong was somehow able to return to cycling in 1998 and win the grueling Tour de France a whopping seven times, starting at age 29.
  • Marion Jones – After winning three Olympic gold and two bronze medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Marion Jones admitted in 2007 that she used steroids. CNN reports that Marion Jones and Barry Bonds both used Tetrahydrogestrinone, also called “THG” or “The Clear.”

It appears that Bonds, Armstrong and Jones, and many others, are true believers in the old DuPont ad slogan, “Better Living Through Chemistry,” which is helping accelerate the evolution of mankind.

While a majority of fans disapprove of the use of steroids, we also have a culture that indirectly approves of the near-robotic performance of steroid-pumping adults. That undercurrent points to a future that will produce superhuman, android-like performers who will battle each other in near-nightmare-like scenarios, as portrayed in many science-fiction movies.

If you’re skeptical about this outcome, witness the increasing popularity of “ultimate fighting” spectacles, a sport that amazingly enough seems to find growing appeal among female sports fans.

Evolutionary Factors
One could argue that the physical attributes of athletes merely mirrors the changing attitudes of athletic recruiters, but a casual observation of teens attending your nearest high school will confirm that major changes are under way:

  • Height – Today’s high school kids today are taller. In March 2005, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that men and women alike had added an inch in height since 1960 — with the average American woman now standing 5-foot-4 and the average male hitting 5-foot-9-1/2. In fact, over the past 150 years the average height of people in industrialized nations has increased approximately about four inches (10cm). At the 2009 U.S. Tennis Open, the men were, on average, one inch taller and five pounds heavier than players 20 years earlier, reports The Wall Street Journal, a finding corroborated by this New York Times article.
  • Bust size – Japanese women’s bust sizes are increasing. Women in their 20s wear bras at least two sizes larger than their mothers, reports Wacoal, Japan’s largest lingerie company. And they’re not alone. The same is true in the U.K. Since the 1920s, British women’s busts have grown four inches (10cm), going from a B cup to a C, and some, like bra maker Bravissimo, believe the average British bra size is closer 34E.
  • Hip measurement – In May 2007, The Wall Street Journal noted that the average Japanese woman’s hips, at 35 inches (89cm), are an inch wider than those of women a generation ago. In the U.K., the average 11-year-old girl has a hip measurement of 32 inches (82cm), compared to 31 inches (78cm) in 1978.
  • Shoe size – In the past 20 years, the shoe size of the average American woman has grown a full size to an 8 or 9, up from a 7 or 8. More than one-third of women now wear a size 9 or larger, up from 11% in 1987, The NPD Group noted in in July 2004. Two trends are influencing this phenomenon, women are generally taller and now carry more weight, in the form of computers, mobile phones and the like, requiring better balance.
  • KAGOY – Kids tend to be more precocious these days. A myriad of media reports echo the sentiments of parents across the world that today’s children reach maturity far faster than ever before. Mattel Toys calls the phenomenon KAGOY — Kids Are Growing Older Younger. Another startling fact that supports this belief are widespread reports of the early onset of puberty in girls, leading The New York Times to ask, “Puberty Before Age 10: A New ‘Normal’?” In the UK, 80% of parents say their kids are growing up too quickly.

Laura DekkerIn December 2010, 16-year-old Laura Dekker, a teenager from the Netherlands, sailed around the world by herself, an example of a trend dubbed “KAGOY” by Mattel — “Kids Are Growing Older Younger.”

The reasons for these rapid physiological changes is usually attributed to nutrition. At a September 2002 Leicester science festival, Professor Andrew Prentice, a nutrition expert from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, remarked that people are now undergoing changes similar to those occurring two centuries ago, when Europeans shot up in height by 12 inches (30cm) or more. “I’m talking about the remarkable change that has occurred in man’s evolution in just the twinkling of an eyelid,” the BBC quoted Prentice as saying.

The Darwin on Steroids trend is simply unstoppable because diet and science have become an integral part of human evolution. At the going rate, society will one day join the Romans and hail its “gladiators” with that same famous saying, “Ave, Caesar, morituri te salutant.” Only in our case Caesar is the almighty dollar and those who are dying off are the non-steroid-using athletes.

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