Human Niche Construction

Human Niche Construction and the Rural Environment
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It works by adding ecological inheritance, comprising the inheritance of natural selection pressures previously modified by niche construction, to genetic inheritance in evolution. Human niche construction modifies selection pressures in environments in ways that affect both human evolution, and the evolution of other species. Human ecological inheritance is exceptionally potent because it includes the social transmission and inheritance of cultural knowledge, and material culture.

Human genetic inheritance in combination with human cultural inheritance thus provides a basis for gene — culture coevolution, and multivariate dynamics in cultural evolution. Niche construction theory potentially integrates the biological and social aspects of the human sciences. We elaborate on these processes, and provide brief introductions to each of the papers published in this theme issue. Keywords: niche construction; gene — culture coevolution; cultural evolution; human evolution 1. The defining characteristic of niche con- NCT provides both a philosophical shift in the way struction is not the modification of environments per we view and understand evolutionary processes as well se, but rather organism-induced changes in selection as a testable scientific theory.

While the effects of niche pressures in environments [1]. The effects of niche construction on the evolutionary process have often construction have been documented across a wide been neglected in the past, it is also important to range of species including animals manufacturing note that many aspects of NCT are already incorpor- nests, burrows and webs, and plants modifying nutri- ated in standard theories of evolutionary biology, ent cycles.

The papers presented in this special issue ecology, developmental biology and the human explore the phenomenon in Homo sapiens, for whom sciences. However, rather than aiming just to relabel endogenous causes of evolutionary dynamics are or reclassify established theories such as gene— culture impossible to ignore. NCT provides struction. Hence NCT recognizes be united [6]. Kendal et al. Human niche construction 2. It is a view that devalues so-called proximate two pairs of coupled differential equations. His first causes, including developmental processes such as pair equations 2.

In equation 2.


Aboriginal economy and society: Australia at the threshold of colonisation. By using our site, you agree to our collection of information through the use of cookies. In press. Eyre, E. Lipatov et al.

In general, organisms are not through social learning, may result in cultural niche- treated as the cause of any evolutionarily significant constructing practices that modify the natural selection changes in their environments, with the exception of of some human genes. As the selected genes may also cases such as frequency dependent selection, habitat influence human cultural practices, the assignment of selection, maternal inheritance and coevolution.

Adaptations of organisms natural selection. In this light, niche construc- as well as reactive relative to their environments. They must perturb specific com- but an ecological inheritance, in the form of modified ponents of their environments, often at locations local selective environments relative to genetic fitness. Lewontin captured this point by his second pair equations 2.

It In equation 2. Therefore, equation 2. Odling-Smee [9] called niche construction. In humans, much niche construction is influenced The philosopher Godfrey-Smith [10] highlighted by socially transmitted behaviour This observation the same distinction between SET and NCT by provoked Laland et al.

Either internal properties of organisms, their adaptations, genetically or culturally influenced behaviours can exclusively in terms of properties of their external modify an environmental resource that subsequently Phil. Human niche construction J. In Laland et al. A problem with using the archaeological record is that it can be difficult niche construction to distinguish causal relationships between niche- constructing traditions and traditions selected as Figure 1.

A schematic diagram of NCT. To overcome this, Riede advocates the use of phylogenetic comparative methods used to study correlated evolution in biology. In addition, the Recently, Odling-Smee [3,22] suggested that inherited ecological niche can include epigenetic infor- Laland et al. Instead, the original organism, such as the epigenetic inheritance of DNA cultural and ecological inheritance systems can be col- methylation patterns or the cytoplasmic inheritance lapsed into a single ecological inheritance system of nutritional resources [14,25].

This simplification is this theme issue. Inherited physical resources could refer to affect behavioural development. For instance, activi- aspects of material culture, for example, nutritional ties such as play and teaching can provide scaffolding resources or tools, created through hunter — gathering for learning [27].

Sterelney [28] in this issue argues activity or farming. Many inherited niches obviously that the construction of developmental niche has been consist of both informatic and physical resources: for critical for the evolution of behavioural modernity in instance, farmed livestock and crops are not just nutri- humans. In particular, he asserts that in the context tional resources, but also a source of public of demographic expansion in the Upper Palaeolithic, information concerning subsistence practices.

Thus, there is a models to examine the evolutionary consequences of natural delineation between the ecological inheritance niche construction. These studies are often based on Phil. Human niche construction a two-locus population genetic framework, where a activities, used by small-scale human societies, to pro- genetic or cultural trait at one locus affects the selec- duce food and raw material resources from wild flora tive environment for recipient genetic or cultural and fauna.

He highlights how the scheme distinguishes traits at the second locus [1,18,29 — 34]. The research particular characteristics of wild taxa that make them has revealed interesting evolutionary dynamics such likely targets for niche construction, as well as the as momentum effects populations continuing to proactive impact that humans have had on their own evolve in the same direction after selection has stopped subsequent resource selection as a function of yields.

The findings have also been con- with constructed niches during the advent of agricul- sistent with quantitative genetic analysis of indirect ture. Considering a wide variety of plant manipulation genetic effects and maternal inheritance [37— 40]. The in part on the relative intensity of selection. Theory authors examine the role of niche construction in suggests that human gene—culture coevolution will typi- the development and geographical expansion of both cally occur if a genetic selective environment remains cereal and livestock agriculture, and highlight the stable across sufficient generations for natural selection feedback effects of population expansion on niche to act on human genetic variation [1].

Human evolution instability. Thus, the gene — culture coevolution, that of lactase persistence capacities for social, technical or cultural intelligence, and dairy farming. Their paper takes an interdisci- such as language and cooperation, have apparently plinary approach, considering new genetic data, coevolved with the cumulative cultural evolution of tech- archaeological evidence and simulation modelling to nologies and social conventions that these capacities explore how this coevolutionary process took place.

Focusing on the European Neolithic transition, includ- In the current issue Rendell et al. This paper provides a formal argument ent to the preferred trait , even when there is an that culture is not a by-product of genetic evolution, inherent cost associated with either the cultural trait but rather that culturally constituted aspects of the or the genetic trait.

They also examine the unique social environment have driven the genetic evolution spatial influence on the evolution, through secondary of predispositions for cognitive features such as proso- hitchhiking, of a genetic trait that affects the capacity cial emotions and moral cognition. The paper draws for cultural niche construction, but bears an inherent on both theoretical and experimental literature to cost. The findings show the potential importance of support the case for the impact of gene— culture coevo- cultural niche construction influencing, for example, lution on, for instance, the internalization of norms, genetic evolution of disease resistance and hominid altruism and character virtues.

The theme of human sociality is continued in this Gene — culture coevolutionary dynamics are likely to issue by Ihara [53], who develops a mathematical have been particularly important in recent human model to examine how culture-dependent discriminate evolution by influencing processes such as global dis- sociality could have evolved by gene—culture coevolu- persal and migration, language evolution, behavioural tion.

Using the scenario of a Hawk—Dove game to modernity and sociality, the advent of agriculture, elicit resource competition, Ihara shows how a culturally and the evolution of human and domesticate diseases transmitted trait can alter the selective environment to [20,47,48]. This is consistent with evidence for favour the genetic evolution of culture-dependent dis- recent and rapid genetic selection, affecting character- criminators that exercise either in-group favouritism or istics including skin pigmentation, body shape, prestige bias as a function of the cultural trait distri- dentition, brain function, metabolic efficiency and dis- bution.

We elaborate on these processes, and provide brief introductions to each of the papers published in this theme issue. Last Modified: Easter Disclaimer Trading name. A-Z Index Accessibility. Human niche construction in interdisciplinary focus. Abstract Niche construction is an endogenous causal process in evolution, reciprocal to the causal process of natural selection.

Keep up to date. Plant and Soil 1 : 11— Laudine, C. Aboriginal environmental knowledge. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing Limited. Laurance, W. Dell, S. Turton, M. Lawes, L. Hutley, H. McCallum, P. Dale, et al. The 10 Australian ecosystems most vulnerable to tipping points. Biological Conservation 5 : — Leao, T. Fonseca, C. Peres, and M. Predicting extinction risk of Brazilian angiosperms. Conservation Biology 28 5 : — Lewontin, R.

Edited by Louise Barrett and Robin Dunbar

Organism and environment. In: Learning, development and culture: essays in evolutionary epistemology ed. Plotkin, H. Little, E. Stories of the Southwest from Oscar and Ernestine Little. In: Nyoongar Yorgas remember eds. Anderson, H. Little, and W. Yinnar: Green River Books. Lourandos, H. Intensification: a late Pleistocence-Holocene archaeological sequence from southwestern Victoria. Archaeology in Oceania 18 2 : 81— Lyver, P. Akins, H. Phipps, V.

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Kahui, D. Towns, and H. Key biocultural values to guide restoration action and planning in New Zealand. Restoration Ecology 24 3 : 1— McNiven, I. Inclusions, exclusions, and transitions: Torres Strait Islander constructed landscapes over the past years, northeast Australia. The Holocene — Meagher, S.

The food resources of the Aborigines of the South-west of Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 3: 14— Use of natural resources by the Aborigines of south-western Australia. In: Aborigines of the west: their past and present eds. Middleton, B. Rediscovering traditional vegetation management in preserves: trading experiences between cultures and continents. Moore, G. Excursion to the northward. London: M. Murphy, B.

The interdependence of fire, grass, kangaroos and Australian Aborigines: a case study from central Arnhem Land, northern Australia. Journal of Biogeography 34 2 : — Nannup, A. Bindi-Bindi Koondarminy wer Maamoong Waangka. Nind, S. Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London 1: 21— Odling-Smee, J.


Erwin, E. Palkovacs, M. Feldman, and K. Laland KN Niche construction theory: a practical guide for ecologists. The Quarterly Review of Biology 88 1 : 3— Laland, and M. Niche construction: the neglected process in evolution.

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Princeton: Princeton University Press. Oldfield, A. On the Aborigines of Australia. Transactions of the Ethnological Society of London 3: — Ommanney, H. Rough notes of an excursion from Busselton to the Western sea coast by H. June, Pages Perth: Explorers' Diaries Volume 3 — Ostrom, E. Burger, C. Field, R. Norgaard, and D. Revisiting the commons: local lessons, global challenges. Parsons, B. Contemporary fire regimes in a fragmented and an unfragmented landscape: implications for vegetation structure and persistence of the fire-sensitive malleefowl.

International Journal of Wildland Fire 20 2 : — Pate, J. Tuberous, Cormous and Bulbous Plants. Rangan, H. Bell, D. Baum, R. Fowler, P. McConvell, T. Saunders, S. Spronck, et al. New genetic and linguistic analyses show ancient human influence on Baobab evolution and distribution in Australia. Plos One Robertson, F. Stasiuk, N. Nannup, and S. Ngalak koora koora djinang Looking back together : a Nyoongar and scientific collaborative history of ancient Nyoongar boodja. Australian Aboriginal Studies 40— Rossi, A.

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Re-evaluating the antiquity of Aboriginal occupation at Mulka's Cave. Australian Archaeology 78 1 : 39— Rowley-Conwy, P.

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Foraging and farming as niche construction: stable and unstable adaptations. Rusack, E.

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Dr. Maureece Levin "'Marginal' Landscapes and Cultural Niche Construction"

Boer, and P. The role of habitus in the maintenance of traditional Noongar plant knowledge in southwest Western Australia. Human Ecology — Russell-Smith, J. Lucas, M. Gapindi, B. Gunbunuka, N. Kapirigi, G. Namingum, K. Lucas, et al.

Kevin N. Laland

Why is human niche construction reshaping planet Earth? thumbnail. Human societies have become a 'great force of nature'. Among the many. This short paper introduces the special section "Civilisation and the Construction of the Human Niche", organised by the 'Domestication, Niche.

Aboriginal resource utilization and fire management practice in Western Arnhem Land, Monsoonal Northern Australia: notes for prehistory, lessons for the future. Human Ecology 25 2 : — Sanderson, E. Jaiteh, M. Levy, K. Redford, A. Wannebo, and G. The human footprint and the last of the wild. BioScience 52 10 : — Scott, K. Fremantle: Fremantle Arts Centre Press.

Shenton, W. Excursion to the Collie and Brunswick Rivers. By Messrs. Shenton and Richard Wells. Peth: Explorers' Diaries Volume 3 Shipek, F. An example of intensive plant husbandry: the Kumeyaay of southern California. In: Foraging and farming eds. Singleton, J. Dandalup Murray District, June 1, Paddy's Narrative.

Smith, B. General patterns of niche construction and the management of 'wild' plant and animal resources by small-scale pre-industrial societies. A comparison of niche construction theory and diet breadth models as explanatory frameworks for the initial domestication of plants and animals. Journal of Archaeological Research 23 3 : — Smith, E. Conservation and subsistence in small-scale societies. Annual Review of Anthropology — Smith, M.

Human Niche Construction: Noongar evidence in pre-colonial Southwestern Australia

Late Pleistocene zamia exploitation in southern Western Australia. Archaeology in Oceania — Recherche a l'Esperance: a prehistory of the Esperance region of south-western Australia. Perth: University of Western Australia. Moving on: an archaeological record of mobility in the Esperance area of south-western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 16— Terrell, J. Hart, S. Barut, N. Cellinese, A. Denham, C. Kusimba, et al. Domesticated landscapes: the subsistence ecology of plant and animal domestication. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 10 4 : — Thackway, R. An interim biogeographic regionalisation for Australia: a framework for setting priorities in the National Reserves System Cooperative Program.

Tindale, N. Aboriginal tribes of Australia: their terrain, environmental controls, distribution, limits and proper names. Canberra: Australian National University Press. Turner, J. Homeostasis and the physiological dimension of niche construction theory in ecology and evolution. Evolutionary Ecology 30 2 : — Turney, S. Bird, L. Fifield, R. Roberts, M. Smith, C.