Will the iPhone influence human evolution?

There's not much evidence to support the hypothesis that Mac-owning digital nomads are repopulating the Earth at any significant rate (though one survey does suggest that iPhone owners are having more sex than Android users).

So while we may unwittingly pass a penchant for Apple goods down through the generations, the way we hold phones or pore over laptops isn't going to change the way our hands develop or the bones in our neck change.

"Changes to the basic body plan are incredibly unlikely to occur," Craze says. "Evolution tends to use the maxim i'f it ain't broke, don't fix it.'"

That doesn't mean that human bodies won't adapt in the short term, but not in a way that can be passed on to your children. For example, Craze suggests that, "excessive texting, especially in childhood while the body is still growing, might cause you to grow thicker skin on your thumbs," but children aren't going to start being born with scaly thumbs as a result.

Gerard Cheshire, a PhD student at the University of Bristol's School of Biological Sciences explains: "In order for the hand to evolve in any appreciable way it would require a certain type of hand to be better at using electronic devices and for the people with those hands to have a better chance of survival and reproduction."

People who are particularly good with their hands may make preferable mating partners, but it's unlikely that wielding a smartphone will become part of natural selection for the seven billion people on Earth. Day-to-day tech probably won't impact human evolution simply because it doesn't affect our survival.

Preparing for the apocalypse

There is one circumstance in which technology could influence survival, though: dystopia. It's possible that in a post-apocalyptic world, the ability to use electronic devices could be the difference between death and survival.

"If there were a nuclear war, those who are more resistant to the effects of radiation would be more likely to pass on their genes," Chesire says, but "electronic devices would only have a noticeable effect if their use were somehow vital to survival and this generated a selective environment.

"It might be that aggregate adeptness with electronic devices promoted evolutionary advantage, such as reliance on some kind of vehicle with a multitude of devices and gadgets that keeps the occupant safe from a hostile world outside."

But until the world ends and the only way to survive is in the Batmobile, you can carry on using your phones with the knowledge that it only really affects your own behaviour.

"Technology will undoubtedly be having some evolutionary impact on the human design," Cheshire sums up. "But it is unlikely to be expressed in any significant way. The changes will be subtle and general, rather than distinct and singular."

News Editor (UK)

Former UK News Editor for TechRadar, it was a perpetual challenge among the TechRadar staff to send Kate (Twitter, Google+) a link to something interesting on the internet that she hasn't already seen. As TechRadar's News Editor (UK), she was constantly on the hunt for top news and intriguing stories to feed your gadget lust. Kate now enjoys life as a renowned music critic – her words can be found in the i Paper, Guardian, GQ, Metro, Evening Standard and Time Out, and she's also the author of 'Amy Winehouse', a biography of the soul star.