A focus on the study of evolutionary biology

The species-level categories often called "ultimate explanations" are the function i. Just as there are no general purpose organs, there are no general purpose psychological mechanisms.

The cell is also considered to be the basic unit in many pathological processes. Explanatory adaptationism is often adopted by those who want to distinguish evolutionary thinking from creationism or intelligent design and is the way evolutionary psychologists often couch their work to distinguish it from their colleagues in the broader social sciences.

Routledge, Volume 1, pp. The field of evolutionary developmental biology "evo-devo" investigates how developmental processes work, and compares them in different organisms to determine how they evolved.

Palmer,A Natural History of Rape: For example, in rats, prenatal undernutrition shortens life while postnatal undernutrition prolongs life Jennings et al. It will infuse a different world view and way of thinking into medicine and public health Childs et al. We view this phenomenon as a classic example of developmental plasticity operating to ensure survival to reproduce but resulting in antagonistic pleiotropic disadvantages in later life.

Evolutionary Psychology

This is best illustrated by antibiotic resistance. The massive modularity thesis is first and foremost a thesis about cognitive architecture. Thus the disease might be caused by the defence mechanisms against gut parasites now targeting the gut wall.

As a result, it is quite consistent to argue, as Buller does, that many human traits may still be under selection and yet reasonably be called adaptations. For Wilson human nature is the collection of universal human behavioral repertoires and these behavioral repertoires are best understood as being products of natural selection.

Alterations in the gut flora are associated not only with acute gastroenteritis but also with chronic disease. The Origins of Psychopathology.

He takes language to be the exception rather than the rule in the sense that while the postulation of an innate, domain specific module may be warranted to account for our language abilities, much of our other problem solving behavior can be accounted for without postulating such modules SterelnyAn extreme example is a soldier losing his life trying to help a fellow soldier.

Fodor does not believe that central systems can be modular but he presents arguments from evolutionary psychologists and others that support the modularity thesis for the whole mind. For the most part standard psychological experimental methods are used to test hypotheses in evolutionary psychology.


Evolutionary medicine shifts the emphasis from dichotomous consideration of health and disease to a more contextual consideration. Also, traits can be adaptations without being currently adaptive for a given organism. In humans, where intrauterine growth restriction may be viewed as an immediate adaptive response of the fetus for surviving maternal ill-health or placental dysfunction, the fetus may also make anticipatory responses to more subtle nutritional or hormonal cues to adapt its developmental trajectory to the type of environment in which, according to its prediction, it will live postnatally.

Heyes and Sterelny not only reject massive modularity but also have little expectation that any modularity theses will bear fruit but there are many critics of the massive modularity thesis who allow for the possibility of some modularity of mind.

This example raises the question of how altruistic genes can be passed on if this soldier dies without having any children. If the missing familial factors are indeed epigenetic rather than genetic, this may well shift the point of focus of intervention. In most Western societies, we now control the children's environment much more rigorously than ever before, and the effect of this can be assessed by comparisons between different educational systems.

Evolutionary biology

The research generated in these applied fields in turn contribute to progress, especially thanks to work on evolution in computer science and engineering fields such as mechanical engineering.

Balancing selection In population genetics, the examples of sickle cell anemia, the thalassemias, and glucosephosphate dehydrogenase deficiency have all been explained in terms of the heterozygote advantage providing resistance against malaria, whereas the homozygous form is associated with more severe disease Luzzatto Current research topics[ edit ] Current research in evolutionary biology covers diverse topics and incorporates ideas from diverse areas, such as molecular genetics and computer science.

Current research topics[ edit ] Current research in evolutionary biology covers diverse topics and incorporates ideas from diverse areas, such as molecular genetics and computer science.

Evolutionary biology

Pinker has argued that opposition to stances considered anti-social, such as ethnic nepotismis based on moral assumptions, meaning that such opposition is not falsifiable by scientific advances. Evaluating Evolutionary Psychology, New York: For example, despite extensive investment in genome-wide association studies, the size of genetic contributions to common diseases has been small Manolio et al.

How evolutionary principles improve the understanding of human health and disease

Arts and Sciences Professor of Biology in the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences. Using Arabidopsis thaliana as a model system, my laboratory studies the mechanisms of plant defense against microbial pathogens.

We focus on a specific response known as systemic acquired resistance (SAR). Evolutionary biology is a subset of biology. The study of how a given chemical affects the body, for example, would not be highly reliant on evolution.

That being said, the importance of the theory of evolution by natural selection to modern biology cannot be overstated. The evolutionary biology area of concentration provides the basic core knowledge for beginning graduate studies in evolutionary ecology, evolutionary developmental biology, evolution of behavior, evolutionary psychology, systematics, paleobiology, molecular evolution, evolutionary genetics, philosophy of biology, and both micro- and.

Sep 07,  · The interest in ongoing human evolution fits with and is supported by the increased focus on the general issues of contemporary evolution (Carroll et al. ). One advantage that could be better exploited in evolutionary biology is our exceptionally detailed understanding of defining human phenotypic characteristics at a level of detail generally not possible in other species.

Evolutionary biology is the subfield of biology that studies the evolutionary processes that produced the diversity of life on Earth, starting from a single common ancestor. These processes include natural selection, common descent, and speciation.

which is a focus on the body, especially the brain and nervous system. Neuroscience is the scientific study of the structure, function, development, genetics, and biochemistry of the nervous system.

A focus on the study of evolutionary biology
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