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Culture and the Course of Human Evolution

The rapid evolutionary development of modern Homo sapiens over the past 200,000 years is a topic of fevered interest in numerous disciplines. How did humans, while undergoing few physical changes from their first arrival, so quickly develop the capacities to transform their world? Gary Tomlinson’s Culture and the Course of Human Evolution is aimed at both scientists and humanists, and it makes the case that neither side alone can answer the most important questions about our origins.
Tomlinson offers a new model for understanding this period in our emergence, one based on analysis of advancing human cultures in an evolution that was simultaneously cultural and biological—a biocultural evolution. He places front and center the emergence of culture and the human capacities to create it, in a fashion that expands the conceptual framework of recent evolutionary theory. His wide-ranging vision encompasses arguments on the development of music, modern technology, and metaphysics. At the heart of these developments, he shows, are transformations in our species’ particular knack for signmaking. With its innovative synthesis of humanistic and scientific ideas, this book will be an essential text.

208 pages | 3 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 2018

Biological Sciences: Evolutionary Biology

Culture Studies

History: History of Technology

Music: General Music

Philosophy: Aesthetics


"[Culture and the Course of Human Evolution] offers a comprehensive picture of factors that may have been involved in the evolution of H. sapiens from the perspective of culture. The aforementioned threads of argumentation constitute a creative suite of hypotheses about what, how, and when culture made humans as humans made culture, largely by juxtaposing evolutionary biology and anthropology. . . . every page is thought-provoking. . ."

History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 The Consequence of Feedback I: Coevolution
Chapter 3 The Consequence of Feedback II: Niche Construction and Culture
Chapter 4 Hominin Culture from the Bottom Up
Chapter 5 Systematic and Emergent Culture
Chapter 6 The First 150,000 Years of Homo sapiens
Chapter 7 The Gathering of Modernity
Works Cited

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