Sensory Drive and the Predictability of Natural Selection

I have been getting into a number of non-sense argumentative spats with people who otherwise will never change their mind about the process of natural selection, and I thought I might try and clear things up in long-form for my followers who might be confused.

One of the main criticisms of natural selection is that despite numerous observations that certain traits benefiting the fitness of individuals move into fixation in populations, it is impossible to predict which traits will do so. This is a main criticism by strict neutralists who usually respond to biologists’ real world examples of natural selection beautifully predicting functional traits by moving the goalpost deep into epistemological grounds. For this blogpost, I’m just going to run through three examples of natural selection being both predictable and real, and then after that I will permanently stop engaging with these actors online.

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American Association of Physical Anthropologists Name Change

Perhaps everyone got the email regarding the name change for the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA), or perhaps you’re not a physical anthropologist at all, but it appears that next year’s annual meeting of the association may involve a name change for the organization. Continue reading “American Association of Physical Anthropologists Name Change”

Did Neanderthals Have Language? Part 3: The Anatomy of Hearing

  1. For many years the only evidence we had pertaining to Neanderthal language came from our reconstructions of their speech production apparatuses. As we read last week, much of the evidence yielded from this side of the debate is highly contested. Fortunately, since communication requires a link between both speakers and listeners, oral communication is only one part of the story. It turns out that the strongest case for Neanderthal language may come from their hearing. But since our ears don’t fossilize, how can we know?

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