Exam 1 Answer Key - 1 Name: Biology 452 Cultural...

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1 Name: Biology 452 Cultural Evolutionary Theory Spring 2009 Exam 1—Answer Key Please provide your answers in the spaces provided below each question. Be sure to write clearly and concisely. 1. Why is it a misconception to associate evolution exclusively with genetic evolution? What role do genes play in evolution? The three ingredients of natural selection are individual differences, consequences for reproduction, and heritability. Genes provide only one mechanism of inheritance. Thus, there is more to evolution than genetic evolution. 2. What is the principle problem with the hypothesis that humans are successful because individual humans are smart? If individual human intelligence was the most important factor, then individuals could figure out how to survive and reproduce in challenging environments such as the arctic or the desert. In fact, even experienced pioneers couldn't survive for more than a few days in the desert environments that were the permanent home of Native
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2 Americans. This example demonstrates the importance of a body of information that is transmitted culturally across generations. 3. What is a common formulation for thinking about learning and culture and how does it differ from studying learning and culture from an evolutionary perspective? Evolution is commonly associated with genetic determinism, or the incapacity for change, in contrast to learning and culture which illustrate the capacity for change. This formulation treats learning and culture as an alternative to evolution that can be studied without reference to evolution. In contrast, learning and culture are increasingly being studied as capacities that evolved by genetic evolution and count as fast-paced evolutionary processes in their own right.
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3 4. What are two major reasons why evolutionary theory became restricted to the biological sciences by the early 20 th century? First, evolution became associated with ideologies that favor social inequality, such as Social Darwinism and Colonialism. Those who disagreed with the ideologies distanced themselves from evolutionary theory. Second, theories that claim to explain human nature on the basis of a few minimalistic principles, such as rational choice theory and behaviorism, make evolution seem unnecessary. These theories had to fail before evolutionary theory could re-occupy center stage. 5.
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This note was uploaded on 04/13/2009 for the course BIOL 311 taught by Professor Vanbuskirk during the Spring '08 term at Binghamton University.

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Exam 1 Answer Key - 1 Name: Biology 452 Cultural...

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