Ethnobiology and the evolution of the human mind
Mithen, S. (2006) Ethnobiology and the evolution of the human mind. JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL ANTHROPOLOGICAL INSTITUTE , 12 (S1). S45-S61. ISSN 1359-0987
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9655.2006.00272.x
An evolutionary perspective on human thought and behaviour indicates that we should expect to find universal systems of perception, classification, and decision-making regarding the natural world. It is the interaction between these evolved aspects of the human mind, the biodiversity of the natural world, and unique historical, social, and economic contexts within which individuals develop and act that gives rise to cultural diversity. The palaeoanthropological record also indicates that language is a recently evolved phenomenon. This suggests that linguistic approaches in ethnobiology are likely to provide only a partial understanding of how humans perceive, classify, and engage with the natural world.