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Thread: NYTimes: Culture As Evolutionary Force page

  1. #1
    Steve-O's Avatar
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    Primal Fuel


    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/02/science/02evo.html


    Very interesting article about whether culture shifts could be responsible for rapid evolution of humans over the past 20,000 years. Article also indicates that it is very hard to test for this.


    "With archaic humans, culture changed very slowly. The style of stone tools called the Oldowan appeared 2.5 million years ago and stayed unchanged for more than a million years. The Acheulean stone tool kit that succeeded it lasted for 1.5 million years. But among behaviorally modern humans, those of the last 50,000 years, the tempo of cultural change has been far brisker. This raises the possibility that human evolution has been accelerating in the recent past under the impact of rapid shifts in culture."


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    Allbeef Patty's Avatar
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    Interesting article. I don't think there's any doubt that culture has a physical effect on humans, the questions are: Are these changes beneficial to the species as a whole, or are they only beneficial because the species has to adapt to our culture? And can these changes be considered evolution?


    I'm not going to pretend that I have a firm grasp on the subject, but I think epigenetics may play a huge part here, and it's I'd imagine that they work together.


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    OnTheBayou's Avatar
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    It was recently postulated that evolution is happening with increasing speed. Nothing more complicated than rapidly increasing world population offering up many more variables.


    Look at the "evolution" of cultures, too. Most medieval folks never made it to the next village. Now we have friends from all over the world and there is the intertubes.


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    evolution's Avatar
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    Very interesting stuff! Great ideas guys...


    This is an interesting video of a neuroscientists ideas regarding culture and its effects on us:

    http://www.ted.com/talks/vs_ramachandran_the_neurons_that_shaped_civilizati on.html


    With culture (through advanced mirror neurons) evolution could now spread horizontally aswell as vertically


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    OnTheBayou's Avatar
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    Another TED WOW!ser.


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