Recent research into human origins has largely focused on deducing past events and processes from current patterns of genetic variation. Some human genes possess unexpectedly low diversity, seemingly resulting from events of the late Pleistocene. Such anomalies have previously been ascribed to population bottlenecks or selection on genes. For four species of matrilineal whale, evidence suggests that cultural evolution may have reduced the diversity of genes which have similar transmission characteristics to selective cultural traits, through a process called cultural hitchhiking. Cultural evolution is characteristic of human societies and so should be considered as a potential determinant of human genetic diversity. A stochastic simulation of gene and cultural dynamics in an array of hunter-gatherer tribes shows that cultural selection has the potential to severely reduce genetic diversity if: inter-tribe gene flows are reasonably low (<~0.6-15 genes/tribe/generation); cultural evolution changes fitness by >~0.3-3%/generation; and fitness is changed more by cultural innovation within a tribe than cultural assimilation from neighboring tribes. Thus cultural hitchhiking may explain low diversity and short coalescence times in mitochondrial and, especially, Y-linked human genes.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,172
External links

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.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Political Theory and Cultural Diversity.Peter Jones - 1998 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 1 (1):28-62.
Can Sociobiology Adapt to Cultural Selection?Sandra D. Mitchell - 1986 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:87 - 96.
Human Rights, Individualism and Cultural Diversity.Rowan Cruft - 2005 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 8 (3):265-287.
Memes Revisited.Kim Sterelny - 2006 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (1):145-165.


Added to PP index

Total views
55 ( #208,108 of 2,517,824 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #409,482 of 2,517,824 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes