File Name: genes memes and human history darwinian archaeology and cultural evolution .zip
Macroevolution in Human Prehistory pp Cite as. Darwinian evolutionary theory provides the most powerful and thoroughly confirmed framework for understanding the history of life and the development of human culture. Recent attempts at developing Darwinian approaches in archaeology have tended to emphasize the smallest units of cultural inheritance as manifested in artifacts.
Thoughts, like fleas, jump from man to man. But they don't bite everybody. Stanislaw Lem Just what is a meme? Dawkins calls it an imitable behavior, but most people who use the notion are more concerned with ideology than how to lay the table, and even Dawkins cites religion as a bundle of memes " viruses of the mind ," is his phrase. Which brings me to: Metaphorical uses, as opposed genuine research. Spread of the meme-meme just the other year I saw in the cultural studies section of the local bookstore a tract called Media Viruses whose palpitating dust-jacket makes it appear as though the secret workings of the world are to be laid bare by the author using the magic tool of "viruses of the mind"; and whose index and bibliography don't even mention Dawkins. And thought-cliches.
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This observation has been explained by the fact that we possess a secondary inheritance mechanism, culture, in addition to a genetic system. Because it is assumed that cultural evolution occurs faster than biological evolution, humans can adapt to new ecosystems more rapidly than other animals. This assumption, however, has never been tested empirically. Here, I compare rates of change in human technologies to rates of change in animal morphologies. I find that rates of cultural evolution are inversely correlated with the time interval over which they are measured, which is similar to what is known for biological rates. This correlation explains why the pace of cultural evolution appears faster when measured over recent time periods, where time intervals are often shorter.
Genes, memes and human history: Darwinian archaeology and cultural evolution. Add to My Bookmarks Export citation. Type Book Author s Shennan, S. This item appears on. Darwin concluded that these unlikely traits could not evolve through Memes and Human History: Darwinian Archaeology and Cultural about Darwinian approaches to cultural evolution.
In the broadest terms, theories of evolution seek to explain why species are the ways they are. For many evolutionists, this means explaining the possession by species of characteristic adaptations. It also means explaining diversity within species. The general mark of modern theories of cultural evolution is their insistence on the significance of cultural inheritance—particularly various forms of learning from others—for both of these questions. The prima-facie case for cultural evolutionary theories is irresistible.
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