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There are consistent individual differences in human intelligence, attributable to a single 'general intelligence' factor, g. The evolutionary basis of g and its links to social learning and culture remain controversial. Conflicting hypotheses regard primate cognition as divided into specialized, independently evolving modules versus a single general(More)
Despite considerable current interest in the evolution of intelligence, the intuitively appealing notion that brain volume and "intelligence" are linked remains untested. Here, we use ecologically relevant measures of cognitive ability, the reported incidence of behavioral innovation, social learning, and tool use, to show that brain size and cognitive(More)
Genes and culture represent two streams of inheritance that for millions of years have flowed down the generations and interacted. Genetic propensities, expressed throughout development, influence what cultural organisms learn. Culturally transmitted information, expressed in behaviour and artefacts, spreads through populations, modifying selection acting(More)
Complementary medicines, traditional remedies and home cures for medical ailments are used extensively world-wide, representing more than US$60 billion sales in the global market. With serious doubts about the efficacy and safety of many treatments, the industry remains steeped in controversy. Little is known about factors affecting the prevalence of(More)
Many animals have socially transmitted behavioural traditions, but human culture appears unique in that it is cumulative, i.e. human cultural traits increase in diversity and complexity over time. It is often suggested that high-fidelity cultural transmission is necessary for cumulative culture to occur through refinement, a process known as 'ratcheting',(More)
We suggest that human culture exhibits key Darwinian evolutionary properties, and argue that the structure of a science of cultural evolution should share fundamental features with the structure of the science of biological evolution. This latter claim is tested by outlining the methods and approaches employed by the principal subdisciplines of evolutionary(More)
Fifty years ago, Ernst Mayr published a hugely influential paper on the nature of causation in biology, in which he distinguished between proximate and ultimate causes. Mayr equated proximate causation with immediate factors (for example, physiology) and ultimate causation with evolutionary explanations (for example, natural selection). He argued that(More)
Recent interest in animal cultures has been fuelled by high-profile reports of intra- and interpopulation differences in the behavioural repertoires of primates and cetaceans, consistent with the existence of socially learned traditions. Several studies have mapped spatial differences in behaviour, revealing a mosaic of behavioural phenotypes within(More)
Culture pervades human lives and has allowed our species to create niches all around the world and its oceans, in ways quite unlike any other primate. Indeed, our cultural nature appears so distinctive that it is often thought to separate humanity from the rest of nature and the Darwinian forces that shape it. A contrary view arises through the recent(More)