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Origin Of Species: The Evolutionary Theory Of Culture

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Evolutionary theory has been around for more than 100 years, ever since Darwin first came up with it in his seminal book “Origin of Species”. Evolutionary theory in a cultural context can be simply defined as “Evolutionary theory postulates that culture change results from the differential persistence, through time, of behavioral variation, and that this persistence can be explained through the application of a limited number of universal processes.” (Barton and Clarke 1997: 4) this is only a simplified and broad definition; as evolutionary theory is ever changing depending on the context it is applied to. Binford even included an evolutionary perspective in his definition of culture “Culture is all those means whose forms are not under direct genetic control which serve to adjust individuals and groups within their ecological communities.” (Binford 1972: 431) Evolutionary theory can be as complex or as simple as the context it is being applied to. Anthropologists have started testing evolutionary theory within cultural contexts decades ago, but not all anthropologists thought evolutionary theory could help explain all aspects of culture. Culture was an ever changing entity, that worked with evolutionary theory well. It was easy to apply evolutionary theory to human behavior as; human behavior mirrors biological…show more content…
Cultural evolutionary theory has helped pave the way for evolutionary theory of material culture “One of the great strengths of cultural evolutionary theory, from the point of view of North American archaeology, is that it strongly integrates archaeology within the discipline of anthropology.” (Johnson
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