David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Ongoing advances in paleoclimatology and paleoecology are producing an ever more detailed picture of the environments in which our species evolved. This picture is important to understanding the processes by which our large brain evolved. Our large brain and its productions—toolmaking, complex social institutions, language, art, religion—are our most striking differences from our closest living relatives. Indeed, humans are unique in the animal world for our brain size relative to body mass and in the elaboration of our cultures. We are also the world’s dominant organism (Vitousek et al. 1997). We achieved our present anatomy and behavioral repertoire very recently. Fossil material attributable to our species goes back perhaps 200,000 years and artifacts that strike us as representing fully modern behavioral capacities are only about 50,000 years old (Klein 1999; McBrearty and Brooks 2000), about which time anatomically modern humans spread from Africa to Eurasia (Lahr and Foley 1994). Our ecological dominance began with the evolution of agriculture starting about 10,000 years ago. Explaining the late coming of human brains is a major evolutionary puzzle. Most important animal adaptations are old. Eyes, internal skeletons, adaptations for terrestrial life and for flight all date back hundreds of millions of years. Given that big brains and culture were such an overwhelming success for us why didn’t they evolve long ago?
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Toby M. Pearce (2003). Did They Talk Their Way Out of Africa? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (2):235-236.
Georg F. Striedter (2006). Précis of Principles of Brain Evolution. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (1):1-12.
Michael C. Corballis (2003). From Mouth to Hand: Gesture, Speech, and the Evolution of Right-Handedness. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (2):199-208.
Thomas Wynn (2002). Archaeology and Cognitive Evolution. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (3):389-402.
Amanda Seed & Michael Tomasello (2010). Primate Cognition. Topics in Cognitive Science 2 (3):407-419.
Jaak Panksepp & Joseph Moskal (2004). Schizophrenia: The Elusive Disease. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (6):863-864.
Peter J. Richerson & Robert Boyd, Complex Societies: The Evolutionary Origins of a Crude Superorganism.
Added to index2010-12-22
Total downloads10 ( #228,082 of 1,725,611 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #134,602 of 1,725,611 )
How can I increase my downloads?