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17: Social and Biopolitical Dimensions of Evolutionary Thinking

  • Page ID
    • Jonathan Marks & Adam P. Johnson

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    Learning Objectives

    • Explain the relationship among genes, bodies, and organismal change.
    • Discuss the shortcomings of simplistic understandings of genetics.
    • Describe what is meant by the “biopolitics of heredity.”
    • Discuss issues caused by misuse of ideas about adaptations and natural selection.
    • Examine and correct myths about evolution.

    In this chapter, we will consider multilevel evolution and explore evolution as a complex interaction between genetic and epigenetic factors as well as the environments in which organisms live. Next, we will examine the biopolitical nature of human evolution. We will then investigate problems that arise from attributing all traits to an adaptive function. Finally, we will address common misconceptions about evolution. The goal of this chapter is to provide you with the necessary toolkit for understanding the molecular, anatomical, and political dimensions of evolution.

    Thumbnail: Drawings of a human hand (left) and a chimpanzee hand (right). Credit: Human and chimpanzee hand (Figure 2.16) by Mary Nelson original to Explorations: An Open Invitation to Biological Anthropology is under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

    This chapter is an adaptation of “ Chapter 2: Evolution ” by Jonathan Marks. In Explorations: An Open Invitation to Biological Anthropology, first edition , edited by Beth Shook, Katie Nelson, Kelsie Aguilera, and Lara Braff, which is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0 .

    This page titled 17: Social and Biopolitical Dimensions of Evolutionary Thinking is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Jonathan Marks & Adam P. Johnson (Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.