September 6, 2010

WE ARE ALL DESIGNISTS NOW:

The Artificial Ape: How Technology Changed the Course of Human Evolution by Timothy Taylor: Peter Forbes is fascinated by a study of the role of early technology in human evolution (Peter Forbes, 9/04/10, The Guardian)

There has been a rash of books on human evolution in recent years, claiming that it was driven by art (Denis Dutton: The Art Instinct), cooking (Richard Wrangham: Catching Fire), sexual selection (Geoffrey Miller: The Mating Mind). Now, Timothy Taylor, reader in archaeology at the University of Bradford, makes a claim for technology in general and, in particular, the invention of the baby sling – not, as you may have thought, in the 1960s but more than 2m years ago.

All these theories and speculations are in truth complementary facets of an emerging Grand Universal Theory of Human Origins. The way they overlap, reinforce one another and suggest new leads is too striking to miss. What they have in common is a reversal of the received idea of evolution through natural selection. In this, a mutation takes place that happens to be useful; it is retained and spreads through the population. In the new theory, proto-human beings, through innovative technologies, created the conditions that led to a rapid spread of new mutations.


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Posted by Orrin Judd at September 6, 2010 8:44 AM
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