Man’s place in past and future evolution: A historical survey of remarkable ideas

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Abstract

Most evolutionary biologists, after Lamarck and Darwin, were concerned with evolutionary processes in the natural world with no special mention of Man – taking him as just another animal. Some dealt with the human species only, and were concerned with human descent from the apes – or, like Wallace and Dobzhansky, with the unique abilities of humans to protect themselves from nature. Still others, like Galton and the Eugenicists, were interested in controlling or improving the future qualities of the human population. That human activities, as a dominant species, affect the natural environment was already noted by Lyell in the early 19th century, but the effect of mankind on the rest of the biological world became of public concern only recently. The implications of human activities for the future evolution – and fate – of our entire planet, seems to be of only limited academic concern, and Man [=mankind, the “international community”] is either uninterested or unable to do anything positive about it.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology
PublisherSpringer
Pages21-29
Number of pages9
Edition9783319466446
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NameVertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology
Number9783319466446
ISSN (Print)1877-9077

Keywords

  • Apes
  • Darwin
  • Eugenics
  • Genetics
  • Heredity
  • Intelligence quotient
  • Lamarck
  • Nature and nurture
  • Wallace

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