Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Evolutionary Archeology

Paradigmatic approach in anthropology that originated with American archaeologist Robert C. Dunnell (1942-) that has adopted the premise that artifacts are part of the extended phenotype of humans, and thus that artifact frequencies through time are explicible by the same processes as those in evolutionary biology, i.e. subject to the action of selection on phenotypic variation. In this view, supporters argue that artifacts reproduce, demonstrate heritability, exhibit variation, and display differential fitness. According to its proponents, artifacts (and certain other cultural traits) reproduce because they are replicators (culturgens or memes), i.e. they are manifestations of phenotypic behaviors with an underlying genetic component (DNA). Aka selectionist archeology. Also spelled evolutionary archaeology.

See sociobiology.

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