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How Children Invented HumanityThe Role of Development in Human Evolution$
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David F. Bjorklund

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190066864

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190066864.001.0001

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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: 26 July 2021

Adaptable Ancestors

Adaptable Ancestors

Developmental Plasticity and Evolution

Chapter:
(p.71) 3 Adaptable Ancestors
Source:
How Children Invented Humanity
Author(s):

David F. Bjorklund

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190066864.003.0003

The high level of plasticity shown by children today was also a feature of our forechildren. Experiences early in life can modify the morphology or behavior of an animal and result in new pressures that can be the focus of natural selection. Behavior, in fact, takes the lead in evolution, because it is more susceptible to change than morphology or genes. Most of the changes early in development, at least for mammals, were accomplished in the presence of mothers. To a significant extent, mothers are the environment for young mammals, making mothers the environment for evolutionary change. Significant behavioral changes in evolution are most likely to occur in large-brained animals, who are better able to deal with novel environments through innovation and social transmission of information than smaller-brained animals.

Keywords:   Lamarck’s theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics, the Baldwin effect, organic selection, Flynn effect, genetic assimilation, epigenetic theories of evolution, maternal effects

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