The distinctive character of human being in evolution
Keywordsadaptation and adaptability, encephalization, speech, human ontogeny, selfawareness
Human beings, as we know and understand them today, are the result of a lengthy, two million year old process that has made them one of the most powerful and beautiful biological beings. The process of encephalisation in humans, combined with the development of areas of speech, brought about by a neurological reorganisation that may have taken place before the increase in brain size, has enabled humanity to generate a tremendous cognitive capacity that in turn has led to the development of what we know of as culture. Culture influences biological development. No other species has achieved the like anywhere. For human survival, culture is a new dimension, a new habitat, which humanity has to adapt as it creates it. Culture is not written into the genome, but it can be transmitted and communicated thanks to speech. This enables knowledge to be shared and transmitted to other members of the group or society, to communicate ideas, concepts and abstractions. Knowledge enables a society to form a structure and make it more complex than a simple agglomeration of individuals while also creating an environment where raising children is viable since it can guarantee their survival, giving them the right treatment to enable them to reach adulthood. It has been said that ‘humanity is a spirit in time’, hence the need to understand the essence of human natural history; the importance of paying it sufficient attention to ensure that what is attractive about its history does not become indigestible.
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