Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Relaxed Selection

Term generally applied to any event that results in the cultural buffering of natural selection; any cultural solution to a biological dilemma as, for example, the innovation of cooking with controlled fire by hominids, which relaxed selection for robust gnathic chewing architecture via cultural premastication, and resulted eventually in smaller chewing muscles, jaws, and teeth. The removal of species from the wild to protected environments is also a form of relaxed selection. Aka iatrogenic selection, anthropogenic selection.

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