A review that grew out of a presentation at the University of Chicago’s Darwin symposium, and which attempted to synthesize much of the content of the eco-evolutionary-dynamics field as it existed at the end of 2010.
Another case in point: The official journal of the is called Evolution and Human Behavior. It was formerly: Ethology and Sociobiology. We are not getting lessintelligent as a species, but that practical people are having more influence. Ishall not listen to arguments of "dumbing down" the science.
There are four modes of evolution– genetic drift: is the change in allele frequencies because of chance events (in small populations)., gene flow is the change in allele frequencies as genes move from one population to another.
Human evolution, like the evolution of any plant, animal, or single-celled organism, occurred within a branching tree of life in which all organisms are related to one another. Our understanding of the shape of the tree is informed by fossil evidence as well as by comparing DNA sequences of diverse living organisms. This poster illustrates those relationships, as well as discussing the evidence for ongoing human evolution, and the timeline of hominid evolution over the past 6 million years.
The John Templeton Foundation has awarded a major grant (£5.7m or $8m) to an international team of researchers from eight of the world’s leading universities to work on a three-year research program on the ‘Extended evolutionary synthesis’.
The effect of ecological change on evolution has been a standard scientific theme for many years, but the reverse—how evolutionary dynamics affect ecological traits such as population growth rate—has only recently begun to take hold with the increasing realization that evolution can occur over ecological time scales. This newly highlighted causal direction and the feedback loop that is then implied—eco-evolutionary dynamics—has invigorated both ecologists and evolutionists and is contributing toward blurring the distinction between them. The logic of the eco-evolutionary-dynamics movement and the resulting research program is as follows. First, many studies have shown that ecological change affects evolution; indeed, natural selection is where ecology and evolution meet, and observations of this process are observations of “evolution in action.” Second, evolution can be fast, since by definition observations of evolution in action are of very fast evolution. Third, the reverse is also possible: evolutionary dynamics can affect ecology—because evolution can be so fast, ecological time and evolutionary time can be commensurate. Indeed, natural selection and population dynamics are both affected by births and deaths of individuals so are tightly related. Fourth, the view of evolution as ponderous and frequently unidirectional is now replaced with a new view: episodes of one-way directional evolutionary selection are interspersed with episodes of stasis or even episodes of selection in the other direction, giving a dynamic interplay between evolution and ecology over real time—the eco-evolutionary feedback. Fifth, there are few empirical examples, however, of evolutionary dynamics affecting ecological dynamics. Those that do exist are either laboratory experiments with small, often even micro-organisms, or field observations of long-term processes. In particular, almost no field-experimental demonstrations of eco-evolutionary dynamics have been successfully carried out so far, yet only they can settle the question of whether the evolution-to-ecology pathway is frequent and strong enough to be important in nature. A current top research priority is performing multigenerational field experiments on eco-evolutionary dynamics. I thank Jonathan Losos and David Reznick for comments on aspects of this article, and the US National Science Foundation for support.
Even though I have difficulty with some points ofCharles Darwin's theoryof natural selection, I have no doubt of the effect his theory has had on ourself-awareness. Darwin's theory of natural selection is monumental in the behavioraldirection of this planet's future. Like Galileo before him, Darwin and his evolutionarytheories have been, and are still, under attack by religious forces frightened by thethought of a world where their authority and their right to speak for God is diminished. Iunderstand the fear that fuels their passion: they may lose influence. In particular, thefear of the diminution of the family and the chaos ensuing if such theories are accepteddo not fall on dispassionate ears. But I also understand the importance of evolutionarypsychology and the discoveries that this new science is bringing to our world in trulylearning human behavior. Most human suffering, including the possibility of globalconflict, occurs because of our ignorance of how behavior mechanisms evolved. Thisrequires the acceptance of evolutionary theory. In 1609, when the church condemned Galileoto house arrest for life, the churchmen refused to look through Galileo's telescope andsee the logic of his arguments. The church insisted that the poor found comfort in theirGod and refuge from the misery that surrounded them by remaining ignorant. Ordinarypeople, of course, found out about Galileo's theories anyway. The truth can not besuppressed forever.
My fondest wish is that somehow I could convince our religious cousins thatscience is merely filling the exacting evolutionary need that God gave all of us -- theneed for convincing answers before we take our next step. The need for God endured afterGalileo's theory was brought out of the darkness of ignorance, and it will endure when thebattle over evolution vs. creationism is over. Families in all communities will stillrequire the comfort and wisdom of their religious leaders; the formation of morals andcultural behavior models will always be their provenance. It is time, however, to see theoverwhelming logic before them by accepting the evolutionary theory. I know that it willbe a new beginning, not an end, for religion. For me, this step is wanted, needed, andeagerly awaited for. And it is for this reason that I give praise to Darwin and make acall for religious support for the next battle: The battle against those who supporteugenics and genetic engineering in their attempt to "improve" the humanspecies. That is God's provenance.
Schoener, T. W. 2011. The newest synthesis: understanding the interplay of evolutionary and ecological dynamics. Science 331.6016: 426–429. DOI:
The ability to find the precise locations of these algorithmic modulesor is stillyears away, but the general location of these areas has been culled from brain scans whichlocate neural activity, and from the study of behavioral dysfunctions resulting from braindamage or other malfunctions.
Knowing how these areas work in relation to the environment and the culture in which thehuman organism finds itself are the other areas of research in which evolutionarypsychology shows the greatest promise. These spheres of research aim at configuringbehavior models based on primate studies, hunter-gatherer research, and anthropologicalevidence into the best possible problem-solving probabilities of our ancestral behaviorpatterns. It is from these studies that evolutionary psychologists build behaviorprobabilities into our modern cultures and show us why we do the things we do -- based onbiology.
For me, the reason that evolutionary psychology is important is that, scientists andscholars alike are finally all collaborating together to form a consensus on how the humanbrain, and thus human emotions, have evolved. Once we know how such emotions as prejudice,hate, and anger evolved, we, as humans, can begin to change these negative behaviormechanisms. We do this by being self-aware of, then controlling, the emotions that flowfrom our brain. It is this self-awareness and self-control that makes us human. So youcreationists have nothing to fear from scientists who want to push humankind's creationtimeline back to include our primate cousins. We are separated from the animal within usby our higher consciousness. We have demonstrated that we control our emotions andthus change our external behavior patterns. But we all must acknowledge that we are stillattached by the flesh to our primal past.
From an evolutionary timeline, we don't have much time left before we begin to makedeliberate genetic mutations. There are three periods of evolution. The firstyou are familiar with: Natural Selection. Here, hereditary defects are weededout without human consciousness. The second is Deliberate Manipulation: theelimination of genetic defects through deliberate manipulation of the genes. Thethird: Volitional Evolution: The deliberate mutation of genetic structure throughGene Therapy. (God help us...please study the history of Eugenics)
I think that I may know the reason for Wilson's reluctance. Every scientist wants credit for his or her own theory formation or discovery, and thisesteemed scientist is no different. But one of the tests of a great scientist is thehumility in which he or she presents themselves to the world. So, as far as Iam concerned, Mr. Wilson, I praise you for your insight, wisdom, and courage. And, at least at this web site, you are the father of evolutionary psychology.