2.a.1 – Does culture depend on natural selection?

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January 7, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

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Does culture depend on natural selection?

Everyone knows that some individual physical characteristics are inherited by the offspring. This phenomenon is due to those microscopic material elements, called genes, which are transmitted from parents to children.
Similarly, certain behaviors, such as the use of simple tools by some animals, are taught from parents to children becoming one of their features. These cultural elements are transmitted from generation to generation and may affect the reproductive success of next generation exactly as genes do.
Similarly to genes also the cultural elements, that are beneficial in a particular environment, increasingly spread in the population to become a common feature. It follows then that the cultural elements are subject to natural selection just as physical characteristics and this analogy is so close to define the components of cultural heritage as cultural genes.

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