The Darwinian Theory of Human Cultural Evolution and Gene-Culture Coevolution
EVOLUTION SINCE DARWIN: THE FIRST 150 YEARS, M. A. Bell, D. J. Futuyma, W. F. Eanes, J. S. Levinton, eds., Sinauer Associates, 2010
20 Pages Posted: 27 May 2010
Date Written: May 26, 2010
Darwin realized that his theory could have no principled exception for humans. He put the famous teaser, “Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history,” near the end of The Origin of Species. If his evolutionary account made an exception for the human species, the whole edifice might be questioned. As the Quarterly Review’s reviewer of The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex probably the long-hostile and devoutly Catholic St. George Mivart) gloated, the Descent “offers a good opportunity for reviewing his whole position” – and rejecting it (Anonymous, or St. George Mivart, 1871).
Darwin apparently hoped someone else would apply Darwinism to the origin of humans. Lyell (1863), Huxley (1863), and Wallace (1864, 1869) all wrote on the subject, but their work was unsatisfactory because all three had reservations about a selectionist account of human mental evolution. Darwin’s views on the origin of humans did not rely entirely on selection but had a supplementary set of mechanisms consistent with a selectionist account.
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