Welcome to

Green Crumbs

Home / People / Humans & The Environment: Theories of Human Adaptation

Humans & The Environment: Theories of Human Adaptation

Humans and the Environment: Theories of Human Adaptation

Can Humans Adapt?

Moran, E. Human Adaptability: An Introduction to Ecological  Anthropology

Theories of human adaptation has been a popular subject for several hundred years. This chapter offers a glimpse into the theories of human-habitat interaction up to the 1950’s. It introduces the concept of environmental determinism which began from Greco-Roman times highlighting the theory that the surrounding environment and climate had a big  influence in shaping human societies; some environments favored good health, intelligence and good government.

There was an emphasis that humans usually opted for the path that required the least effort and therefore yielded mostly to geographical influence and natural forces. The other theme and concept that was highlighted in the writing was the idea of human adaptation to the environment.

Advancement of Adaptability

Theories of human adaptation continue throughout the eighteenth century. Writers articulated that as human beings advanced in technology and gained more control over resources, adaptation to the surrounding environment was easier and quicker, therefore breaking free from the deterministic influence of the environment, giving human beings to have control over their destinies.

If these two theories of human adaptation were placed at two extremes, there were other notions and ideas that fell in between and revolved around these concepts. There was an idea implied by Hume and Kant which said  that there was purpose in nature and the evolution of organisms. Then there was Darwin’s theory of evolution which was heavily influenced by the Malthusian principle which said that with the abundance of food there would be a nature rise in human populations unless curtailed by disease, war or famine. Darwin’s theory emphasizes that genetic variation arises randomly and undirected toward any adaptive direction. Opposed to this was the Lamarckian idea that organisms improve themselves by their own efforts and that they pass on these advantages to their offspring. All of these ideas and concepts help shape an introductory discourse to ecological anthropology.

Moran, E. Human Adaptability: An Introduction to Ecological  Anthropology

Westview Press, 2000.

Please leave your green crumbs...

To get the latest update of me and my works

>> <<

%d bloggers like this:
Skip to toolbar