The Evolution of Human Behavior

By Carl J. Warden | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER VII
PRESENT TRENDS IN EVOLUTION

PERHAPS no question is of more intrinsic interest to many of us than that regarding the immediate and remote future of mankind. This interest naturally centers around the advanced races which represent the high point of cultural evolution up to the present time. Some writers seem to believe that human evolution is now complete and that further variations of a bodily sort are not to be expected in the future. They would say that human evolution hereafter is to be restricted to various phases of cultural achievement, while man as a biological being is to remain as he is now. Such a view, however, is not only unsound in principle but is contrary to the concrete facts as we find them. To begin with, there can be no such thing as continued existence without bodily change in any living thing. The individual must change from year to year and the species must change from generation to generation. The universal law of life is mutability within limits, and there is not the slightest reason to suppose that the human organism is exempt from its operation. It is evident that the environment of civilised man is far different from that of his immediate and remote ancestors. The shift in external conditions since the beginning of historic times has been relatively rapid and in some cases very important. It may safely be taken for granted that these changes in the environment have brought about further evolution of a biological sort. Our primary problem, in

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