chapter  13
23 Pages

Cultural Causes of Genetic Change

WithFrank B. Livingstone

The resurgence of interest in the biological causes of human behavior has raised many problems for anthropology and other social sciences that are concerned with differences in behavior between human populations. The complexity of the relationship between genetic and behavioral variation among human populations can be further illustrated by the effects of differences in diet. B. Campbell’s model of cultural change is comparable to the usual gene frequency change model of genetic evolution. Another cultural trait that has similar problems of interpretation is the old favorite, the incest taboo. There is an increasing consensus that the deleterious genetic effects of close inbreeding are the cause of the supposed universality of this taboo in human societies. Basic human nature or species-specific behaviors in man are assumed to have been adaptations that occurred in the past at the time when all human populations occupied the same ecological niche as hunters and collectors.