Here is the third and last “unanswered question about evolutionary biology” that I discussed in a short BBC Focus essay. (#1 is here and #2 here). I’m putting this up because the second and third questions appear only in the print version.
How much of our behavior reflects our evolutionary past? What does it mean to be human? Part of the answer involves knowing which of our behaviors were instilled in our ancestors by natural selection. This is the purview of the popular field of “evolutionary psychology.”
Unfortunately, its popularity—as measured in books and articles that give Darwinian explanations for everything from homosexuality to music—is not a sign of scientific rigor. It turns out to be hugely difficult to determine what portion of our modern behavior was adaptive in our ancestors. For one thing, our culture is far more elaborate than that of any other animal, being transmitted instantly…
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