At the mercy of natural selection from the dawn of life, our ancestors adapted, copulated, and died, transmitting small genetic mutations and ultimately making us human today.
However, new research suggests that evolution is no longer strictly genetically constrained.Instead, humans culture It is possible that gene mutations are driving evolution faster than they can function.
In this concept, evolution no longer requires genetic variation, which offers the survival benefit of being inherited and spread. Instead, the learned behavior inherited throughout culture is a “mutation” that provides survival benefits. Researchers argue that this so-called cultural evolution may now shape the fate of mankind more strongly than natural selection.
“When a virus attacks a species, it usually has immunity to it. Virus Zack Wood, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Maine’s Faculty of Biology and Ecology, who co-authored the study, told Live Science. Such evolution progresses slowly, with sensitive people dying and only survivors dying. Communicate their genes.
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But today, humans most often do not need to be genetically adapted to such threats. Instead, we adapt by developing vaccines and other medical interventions. This is not the result of a single job, but the result of many people built on the basis of accumulated “mutations” of cultural knowledge. By developing vaccines, human culture improves its collectiveness. “Immune system“The study’s co-author, Tim Waring, an associate professor of social ecology modeling at the University of Maine, said.
And sometimes, cultural evolution can lead to genetic evolution. “A typical example is lactose intolerance,” Waring told Live Science. “Drinking cow’s milk began as a cultural feature, which then followed. [genetic] Evolution of human groups. In that case, cultural change preceded genetic change and not the other way around.
The concept of cultural evolution is evolution Waring said. Charles Darwin understood that behavior could evolve and be passed on to offspring as well as physical characteristics, but scientists at the time believed that behavioral changes were inherited. I did. For example, if a mother has a trait that tends to teach her daughter to look for food, the mother conveys this inherited trait to her daughter. In turn, her daughter is more likely to survive, and as a result, its traits will become more common in the population.
Waring and Wood are discussing in a new study published in the journal on June 2nd. Bulletin of the Royal Society BAt some point in human history, culture began to rob us of evolutionary dominance. DNA.. And now they say that cultural change allows us to evolve in ways that biological changes alone could not.
The reason is as follows. Culture is group-oriented, and people in those groups talk, learn, and imitate each other. These collective actions allow people to convey the adaptations they have learned through culture faster than genes can transmit similar survival benefits. Individuals can quickly learn skills and information from an almost unlimited number of people and disseminate that information to many others. And the more people you can learn, the better. Larger groups solve problems faster than smaller groups, and competition between groups stimulates adaptation that may help those groups survive. As ideas spread, culture develops new traits.
In contrast, a person only inherits the genetic information from two parents and accumulates a relatively small number of random mutations in the egg or sperm. It takes about 20 years to be passed on to a small number of children. It’s just a much slower pace of change.
“This theory hasn’t been around for a long time,” said Paul Smaldino, an associate professor of cognitive and information science at the University of California, Merced, who has nothing to do with the study. “People have long worked to explain how evolutionary biology interacts with culture.”
Researchers suggest that the emergence of human culture may represent an important evolutionary milestone.
“The big argument is that culture is the next evolutionary transition state,” Smaldino told Live Science. Throughout the history of life, major transition states have had a profound effect on the pace and direction of evolution. The evolution of cells with DNA is a major transition state, and it changed the game again when larger cells with organelles and complex internal structures arrived. The integration of cells into plants and animals was another major change in the ocean, as well as sexual evolution and the transition to life on land. Each of these events has changed the behavior of evolution, and now humans may be in the midst of yet another evolutionary change. We may still be genetically evolving, but it may no longer control human survival much.
“In the very long term, it suggests that humans have evolved from individual genetic organisms to cultural groups that function as superorganisms, such as ant colonies and beehives,” War said. Mr Ring said in a statement. However, while genetics drives bee colonies, human superorganisms are in their own category. It is unclear what the superorganism will look like in the distant future, but a village will be needed to understand it.
Originally published in Live Science.
Culture may surpass genes in human evolution
Source link Culture may surpass genes in human evolution