Scientific American just released a great special issue on The Science of Being Human. It’s one of those nicely-integrated issues that Scientific American has become really good at creaating: from the graphics to the flow of the article topics, everything fits together into a nice three-part structure that explores a diversity of issues surround human evolution and our resulting uniqueness. The “Why Us?” section has a lot of great background material on what distinguishes us from other animals. The “Us and Them” section looks comparatively at humans and our close relatives to unravel how we came to be so unique. And the final “Beyond Us” section looks at human existence in the context of both our unlikely past and probable future.
There are lots of great articles in this issue, and I will sprinkle them across my current course offerings (Ecology, Environment, & the Anthropocene, Evolution, and Breeders, Propagators, & Creators).
My favorite article of them all is probably Michael Tomasello’s “The Origins of Morality”, in which he adeptly packages up all of the arguments in favor of cultural group selection without ever uttering the g-word. It’s a rhetorical tack that I should probably consider taking myself.A Minor Post, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Human Nature, Human Uniqueness, Periodicals