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The Problem of Survival Human Life and All Things Nasty, Brutish, and Short.

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Presentation on theme: "The Problem of Survival Human Life and All Things Nasty, Brutish, and Short."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Problem of Survival Human Life and All Things Nasty, Brutish, and Short

2 Universality of Human Nature Humans, as a species, faced common problems The adaptive solutions to these problems form the basic structure of human nature These adaptations are considered human universals

3 Major Survival Problems Food acquisition & selection Habitat Environmental threats Senescence

4 Food Acquisition & Selection We need food to supply energy, but not all organisms want to be eaten Food aversions Food sharing serves both survival and reproductive (i.e., courtship) ends Pregnancy sickness: Teratogens Dangers of not experiencing pregnancy sickness

5 Hunting Humans consume large amount of meat, compared to other primates Provisioning explains high male parental investment & sexual division of labour However, egalitarian food sharing Showoffs get sexual access & other benefits in exchange for meat

6 Gathering Meat still constitutes low proportion of diet Gathered plants constitute 50-80% of modern hunter-gatherer diets Tools used in gathering Puts evolutionary emphasis on women Adjust their foraging to husbands hunting success

7 Hunting vs. Gathering Gathering: Doesnt explain hominid divergence Doesnt explain division of labour Men parasitising womens labours Hunting: Small, but consistent, proportion of diet Explains above problems

8 Scavenging Proportion of meat acquired through scavenging Stone tools used (cut marks) Problems: Range too great to find regular kills Left-over meat from kill? Competition with other species Rotting

9 The Savanna Hypothesis Natural landscape preferences Habitat selection: Selection Information gathering Exploitation Flowers & the onset of edible foods

10 Environmental Threats Predators & Poisons: Fear of snakes, spiders, blood Adaptations: freeze, avoid/escape, defense, appeasement Physical environment: Heights, disease, strangers Preparedness

11 Senescence Aging is an ambiguous term We are not like washing machines that break apart after long-term use Senescence is the continuous deterioration over our bodily mechanisms Selection operates most greatly on organisms at time of peak reproductive value Suicide & reproductive value

12 The Wrap-Up Universality of Human Nature Survival problems: Food Habitat Environmental threats Senescence

13 Things to Come The Evolution of Sex Asexual vs. sexual reproduction Genetic copying errors Parasite defense Sex Ratios Minimum Investment Sexual Dimorphism

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