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Ancestral Landscapes in Human EvolutionCulture, Childrearing and Social Wellbeing$
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Darcia Narvaez, Kristin Valentino, Agustin Fuentes, James J. McKenna, and Peter Gray

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199964253

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199964253.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 29 July 2021

Preliminary Steps Toward Addressing the Role of Nonadult Individuals in Human Evolution

Preliminary Steps Toward Addressing the Role of Nonadult Individuals in Human Evolution

Chapter:
(p.240) 10 Preliminary Steps Toward Addressing the Role of Nonadult Individuals in Human Evolution
Source:
Ancestral Landscapes in Human Evolution
Author(s):

Agustín Fuentes

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199964253.003.0017

Children are often absent from our reconstructions of human behavioral evolution. When they are present it is usually as infants or youngsters placing a reproductive or energetic burden on the mother or both parents. Beyond seeing them as passive or minor actors, we can posit that non-adults have impacts on the local ecologies and the social and structural relationships within groups and between groups and their environments. Modern evolutionary theory provides a new toolkit for conceptualizing the role of children in human evolution, especially via niche construction. The chapter suggests that we should seriously consider the possibility that immatures are actors alongside adults in at least some facets of the social and ecological inheritance systems that enable behavioral flexibility and extended adaptation, both factors in the long-term success of the genus Homo.

Keywords:   evolution, niche construction, immatures

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