The Role of Culture as a Selective Force In The Course Of Human Evolution
Culture has shaped human evolution for the last two thousand years or so in many ways. As people, interact with other people from diverse cultures in order to learn new behaviors and embrace new lifestyles. According to biologists, culture has acted in a complete opposite to other forces of evolution in humanity, such as the invention of clothes that has shielded people from the pressures of cold and farming that has helped people overcome effects of famine (Tattersall, 2014). Thus, as people learn and embrace cultures, they can devise mechanisms and adopt behaviors that shield them from other selective pressures. Additionally, culture was seen to have managed to blunt the rate at which human evolved or brought it to a stop in the past. Today, scientists have asserted that culture, is a significant force of natural assortment that has altered the course of human evolution for many centuries.
Culture define people’s way of life as depicted in their beliefs and values as well as their way of doing things, and which is transmitted from one generation to another in an inheritance system independent of genes (El Mouden, 2014). The modification of these behaviors is subjects to descent adjustment that determine the alterations in human evolution. The way culture alters human evolution, as a natural selection is different from how the genes affect such things as adaptability. For instant, culturally transmitted traits may maximize cultural fitness differently from the performance of genetic fitness. Additionally, cultural relatedness and altruism cannot be reduced to equal those of their genetic counterpart. Seven million years ago, human were apelike and carried their weight on fours, which is past now as they were able to develop material culture (tools, shelter, fire, clothes, etc.) to develop their lives. Scientists believe that natural selection of the time favored the Homo sapiens that innovated and shared their knowledge with others who became more capable and survived to meet the challenges of life (Torres, 2015). These individuals managed to evolve into straight humans of today and developed in many other realms such as social, cognitive and emotional perspectives.
Research findings show that people become accustomed genetically to unrelenting cultural changes such as new diets. These cultural interactions are therefore, more rapidly adopted and work significantly quickly than other selective forces that affect human evolution. Some practitioners have further argued that gene-culture co-evolution could be the primary form of human evolution. Culture has created beliefs and values that people acquire while interaction with people from other cultures and, which have significantly defined human behavior (El Mouden, 2014). The distribution of labor between genes and culture has altered how individual behave and have changed the course of human evolution. For instance, people’s ability to overcome adverse pressures such as famine by acquiring the knowledge of growing crops and lighting fire to scare away animals and cook food, has contributed to the survival of humanity, increasing the population over the past 50,000 years or so. The way of life people have developed to make life easy, and the progressive refining of the technical tools and behaviors, have rendered large-brain home sapiens gene-culture co-evolution adaptations that aid in high level of social learning. Such technical tools include the sharpening of stones, wood, and metal to make sharp objects for tilling the land, protection and preparing food, for surviving in the individual environment and live longer (Tattersall, 2014).
El Mouden, C., André, J., Morin, O., & Nettle, D. (2014). Cultural transmission and the evolution of human behaviour: a general approach based on the Price equation. Journal Of Evolutionary Biology, 27(2), 231-241. doi:10.1111/jeb.12296
Tattersall, I. (2014). IF I HAD A HAMMER. Scientific American, 311(3), 54-59.
Torres Colón, G. A., & Hobbs, C. A. (2015). The Intertwining of Culture and Nature: Franz Boas, John Dewey, and Deweyan Strands of American Anthropology. Journal Of The History Of Ideas, 76(1), 139-162.