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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions


A Different Kind of Animal: How Culture Transformed Our Species

by Robert Boyd,
Psychology Today, December 14, 2017

Charles Darwin’s theories have stood the test of time. In The Origin of Species, Darwin laid out three conditions in which natural selection would generate cumulative adaptation: 1) a struggle for existence in which not all individuals reproduce; 2) variation in rates of reproduction; 3) variation that is heritable. Convinced that his theory of evolution applied to human beings, Darwin subsequently made a claim that has been rejected by many biologists. In Descent of Man, he maintained that important features of human sociality originated in selection among groups with different behavioral standards – a result that required substantial heritable variation among groups.


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