Relationship between biological and cultural evolution

How do biology and culture interact? | A Replicated Typo

relationship between biological and cultural evolution

New insights in cognitive science and evolutionary psychology have provided new opportunities for merging biological and cultural evolutionary perspectives. This review begins with a definition of biological evolution and a description of Subsequently, prime differences between biological and cultural evolution are. At the Boundary between Biological and Cultural Evolution: We discuss the relationship between the dis- tribution Biological and cultural features of human.

In any event, we can address these questions quantitatively. Biology and Culture in Recent Selection But what about language?

relationship between biological and cultural evolution

Certain aspects of language, particularly arbitrary linguistic constraints, are often seen as a moving target — too fast for the coevolutionary hypotheses to mould a putative language module. In the paper, three simulations were run: Of course, this entails a strong pre-existing genetic basis, leading back to the initial question: Although our results demonstrate that the Baldwin effect may apply to functional properties of language Simulation 1the Baldwin effect is unlikely to be the mechanism for genetic assimilation of arbitrary linguistic properties that began as learned cultural conventions Simulations 2 and 3.

If this is so, language may have been shaped to a large extent by evolutionary processes of cultural transmission across generations of language learners. These processes include grammaticalization, the continual routinization, generalization, and erosion that underlie historical patterns of language change. Importantly, such cultural evolution is constrained by properties of the human neural and perceptuo-motor systems, which themselves have a genetic basis largely predating the emergence of language.

Tecumseh Fitch and Derek Bickerton over at the language log.

BBC - Future - How human culture influences our genetics

As Fitch explains in his conclusion: By placing vocal control at the centre of his model, Darwin availed himself of the rich comparative database of other species who have independently evolved complex vocal imitation, and he thus explains two of the features of human language that set if off most sharply from nonhuman primate communication systems: Together, these hypotheses provide one of the leading models of language evolution available today for an enthusiastic book-length exploration see Mithen,and one that has been repeatedly re-discovered by later scholars e.

Because of the odd shaped blood cells, sickle-cell disease can lead to blockages in blood vesselswhich in turn cause pain and organ damage. Under normal circumstances, evolution keeps sickle-cell disease to a minimum because it can be so harmful and can reduce life expectancy. But because of a biological quirk, the sickle-cell gene can actually protect against malaria.

So in parts of the world where malaria infection rates are extremely high, like Africa, natural selection may actually favour the sickle-shaped cells. In the gamble of life, protection against malaria may be preferable, even at the potential cost of suffering from sickle-cell disease.

In order to cultivate yams, trees had to be chopped down.

Biological and Cultural Evolution and Their Interactions

More mosquitos mean more malaria, creating the conditions for sickle-shaped cells to become adaptive. So while it's sickle-cell disease that's protective against malaria, it was a uniquely human behavior — yam farming — that allowed evolution to act. Not all examples of gene-culture co-evolution are quite as beneficial. Polynesians, for example, have a uniquely high prevalence of type II diabetes.

A comparison of biological and cultural evolution.

It's among the highest worldwide, and is higher even than among neighbouring human populations. One group of researchers has discovered that the Polynesians have a particularly high frequency of a variant of a gene called PPARGC1Aand that may be responsible for their high frequency of type II diabetes, at least in part. View image of SPL Credit: SPL Why are they so uniquely afflicted by this disease? The researchers think it may have something to do with their ancestors' culture of exploration.

relationship between biological and cultural evolution

As the Polynesians settled the islands of the Pacific, they endured long voyages across the open ocean, and faced the stresses of cold and starvation. Those conditions may have encouraged "thrifty metabolism", which allows people to build up fat deposits more quickly when food is available. Natural selection may have increased the frequency of associated gene variants among them. However the sort of metabolism that would have been useful to explorers can lead to obesity and type II diabetes for individuals in modern cultures with consistent sources of nourishment.

So modern Polynesians may have inherited a susceptibility to type II diabetes not because they lead a sedentary lifestyle, but because their ancestors decided to climb into some canoes and explore their planet. While these examples are perhaps the best understood examples of gene-culture co-evolution, researchers have identified scores of others.

Our domestication of plants may have given a leg up to the genes that allow us to detoxify certain chemical compounds found in the plants we eat. Our history of exploring new territories and unfamiliar climates may have acted upon genes that allow us to tolerate more extreme heat or cold than our ancestors. The invention of cooking may have altered the evolution of our jaw muscles and our tooth enamel.

The emergence of language and complex social cognition may have prompted natural selection to further guide the development of our brains and nervous systems. SPL It would be easy to assume that cultural influences are unique to humans.

Yet some animal species have at least rudimentary cultures, and it would be silly to think that this couldn't influence their genetics just as ours does. It might be happening among the dolphins of Shark Bay, Australia.