Discuss the relative importance of genetic and cultural evolution in the recent evolution of humans.

 

·      Changes in genotype (genetic evolution via natural selection) have lead to cultural evolution in humans by promoting intelligent behaviour

·      Larger brain sizes have promoted increased learning capacity / greater cognitive ability

·      Prolonged gestations have promoted social interaction / familiy networks

·      Bipedalism has promoted extensive migration and improved socialisation tendencies

·      Shorter finger bones and reduced reliance on forelimbs for locomation have promoted increased tool manipulation

·      Evolution of culture (e.g. art, science, language) has been more rapid and recent than genetic evolution (which requires many generations)

·      Further cultural evolution (through genetic engineering) may hasten changes in our genetic evolution

·      Certain products of cultural evolution (e.g. medicines) may reduce genetic evolution via natural selection

·      Other products of cultural evolution (e.g. pollution) may increase genetic evolution (increased mutagenic rate)

Answered by Zana Katarina L. Biology tutor

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