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The Evolved Apprentice – How Evolution Made Humans Unique - MIT Press Scholarship Online
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The Evolved Apprentice: How Evolution Made Humans Unique

Kim Sterelny


This book develops a novel account of the speed and extent of human evolutionary divergence from the great ape stock. It does not explain human uniqueness by positing a critical adaptive breakthrough (episodic memory; advanced theory of mind; planning and causal reasoning; language). Rather, it identifies a series of positive feedback loops between initially minor advances in social tolerance, ecological flexibility, cooperative foraging, social learning, and links the results of these feedback loops to the archaeological and anthropological record. The analysis is organised round a new model ... More

Keywords: Evolution of cooperation, social learning, cultural learning, evolution of social learning, cumulative cultural evolution, human niche construction, cooperative foraging, human reproductive cooperation, Tomasello’s Ratchet, human uniqueness

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780262016797
Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2015 DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262016797.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Kim Sterelny, author
Australian National University