Hum Hist 2 ho 17 - Hum Hist II Week 10 lecture 1...

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Hum Hist II Conclusions 6/1/11 Week 10, lecture 1 The shape of history The great motor of human history: the cultural evolution of the modern human brain Biological evolution makes possible cultural evolution (i.e., cumulative learning and pooling of knowledge) Cultural evolution is like biological evolution in rightward skewing of complexity, abrupt collapses, shifting fitness landscapes But cultural evolution is largely unlike biological evolution in producing multiple ways of doing things within a single species Cultural evolution is like biological evolution in generating great thresholds (e.g., transitions to farming, states, empires, industry) and in importance of geography, competition, and resources But cultural evolution is largely unlike biological evolution in how geographical scale feeds back into the evolutionary process Scale transformed process in last 600 years, producing explosion of energy capture since 1800, growth in numbers, standards of living, destructive power, transformation of lifestyles
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