EVOLUTION OF HUMANITY 13
Biologyin the Evolution of Humanity, Society and Technology in Regards toEconomics
Thepresent, and to large extent past scholars, have developedinteresting theories that make informed opinions of how the humankind evolved for the earliest hominids of human species to thecurrent Homo sapiens. The scholars differ in many ways, but all seemto agree the vital role that biology plays in explaining the journeyof evolution that man has taken over the ages. Primarily, biologicaladaptations and formation of advantageous organs in the human body,especially the large brain, bipedal posture and remarkable skills inmaking and using tools have been paramount components of humanevolution to the current status that is believed to be eitherapproaching or already in the summit of evolution. It is not possiblyadequate to describe human evolution without considering the impactof technology to the entire process. Of prime focus to this essay isthe natural biology of human evolution with respect to technology,and its implication to the economic process. This paper will wind upby examining the impact of technology on human capabilities ineconomic development.
Biologyin the Evolution of Humanity, Society and Technology in Regards toEconomics
Humanevolution describes a lengthy change process through which humanbeings originated for the apelike ancestors. Empirical evidenceproves that behavioral and physical traits that the entire humanpopulation share originated from apes and advanced over a period ofmillions of years. Bipedalism is one of the most conspicuous humantrait and it evolved through a period exceeding 4 million years. Morerecent biological developments in humankind characteristics includecapacity for language, complex and large brain and ability to makeand employ tools for various purposes. The genetic and physicalsimilarities between apes humans suggest that they humans areprimate. There are very close similarities between the Homo sapiensand the large apes as gorillas suggesting a common ancestry. It isworth noting that, the earliest forms of life were discovered inAfrica with the first group migrating to Asia a couple of millionyears ago. The rest of the world was populated by the current speciesof people later following successive evolutions to the presentbrilliant man. Evolution process entails a series of natural changes,which cause a species to come up, adapt to the environment or becomeextinct. All species in the entire planet originated through abiological evolution process. Notably, evolution takes place when thegenetic material (DNA) of an organism changes. In most case, thechanges occur during sexual reproduction process where genes fromparents are inherited by the offspring in different proportionsresulting to variations. Further, mutations with a population canalso result to variations, changes and eventual evolution of aspecies (Lane,2010).That mentioned, the human society and the human society was developedfollowing a combination of various synergies, which collaborated toform a perfect society for human beings where economic excellencecould be achieved through the aid of technology. Technology is thepillar that holds the human society in terms of economic prosperitythrough effective communication and controlled hybrid production.
Theevolution of humans provides a comprehensive illustration of thehypothesis of synergistic functional group selection, as well as theHolistic Darwinism (Darwin,1909).A sui generis is a term that is employed to describe the evolution ofhumankind. Although the concept can seem to blanket all processes ofevolution in all organisms given their situation-specific andhistorical causal dynamics, the assertion tends to undermineevolution processes in the rest of organisms in favor of humanevolution. According to Corning (2005), the most remarkable episodein the history of evolution is the evolution of human kind.
Ananalysis of the previous theories that have been developed over timeassign selection theory developed by Darwin to human evolution.Accordingly, human beings select their family, group and mutualrelationships that are based on reciprocity. Social theorists,especially symbolic interactionist, hold that human interactions arecharacterized by some form of exchange. The exchange does not have tobe equal in proportion, but it is important for there to bereciprocity for the interaction to continue (Dawkins,1996).Notably, the three selection modes mentioned above are (mutualism,family selection and group selection), more often than not,complimentary and they reinforce one another rather than beingopposed to each other in a mutual manner. Further, the hypothesis ofsynergism asserts, in essence, that the bio-economic payoffs that arerelated to the many forms of social cooperation that resulted to theeventual trend, which produced the current human species (Corning,2005).Technically speaking, the wardrobe of human biologicalcharacteristics are products of many collaborative behavioralinnovations, which granted the human race the proximatereinforcements for the progressive evolution. In a nut shell, humanbeings invented themselves in response to several ecologicalopportunities and pressures.
Aprime mover theory has been placed at the center of the traditionalapproach to describing human evolution with the theory being,specifically, defined as the engine that has provided power to theevolution of the human species (Dawkins,2006).In the descent of man, Darwin gave lots of emphasis on the role oftool making to mark the most significant occurrence in humanevolution. However, most of the other theorists speculated about thesignificance of bipedalism, which preceded the feature of the bigbrain with inclinations that it was the most vital breakthrough inthe entire human evolution tree (Lane,2010).Other participating factors include, but not limited to, climatechange, adoption of the fire, food surpluses, warfare, increasedintelligence and language development.
HolisticDarwinism is for the idea that that the entire factors mentioned inthe previous paragraph are vital, but none can sufficiently stand onits own. Therefore, the phenomenon of natural human evolutiondepended on factors that yielded lots of mutually supportive,cooperative and compatible effects (Dawkins,2006).If they were to be singled out and analyzed individually, the namedeffects would not endure the heat of objections and criticism. Forinstance, critiques can hold the argument that bipedalism isevidenced in other organisms from species different from sapiens asthe kangaroo (Corning,2005).The same objections can be extended to tool making and use of thesame among the hominids and other animals as the chimpanzees. Thesepoints prompt the conclusion that there must have been lots offactors that combined harmoniously to fuel the process of humanevolution from the earliest to the present form.
Onthe contrary, human evolution leading theme may revolve around theexpansion of several modes of social cooperation, especiallycompetition and cooperation, which has been associated withproportionate bio-economic benefits. However, cooperation andcompetition played important individual roles in shaping humanevolution. Therefore, there are no mutually exclusive accounts of thewith regard to the evolution process (Darwin,1909).This implies that the human ancestors obtained their competitive edgefrom forms of social cooperation that were increasingly potent. Inthis spirit, the human society adores the collective survivalnetworks, and it is from the same networks that evolution successrelies on. Supportive morphological changes that can be observed inhuman beings precipitated from the behavioral changes in the pursuitof social cooperation for functional purposes (specific) (Darwin,1909).
Theabove dynamic can be examined and illustrated by the adoption andcontrolled fire use. Fire was an exceptional invention in the historyof man, and it was marked as a vital factor in the past and ongoingprocess of human evolution (Dawkins,1996).Notably, long term benefits were realized from the controlled fireuse by the hominids. For a long period, fire was employed forestablishing a defense line against predators, as well as a means ofharvesting honey (Corning,2005).Other uses may have included hardening tools and weapons and warmth,which facilitated human beings to survive in extremely cold climatesand facilitating the ancestors to diversify their diets throughcooking.
Primarily,fire signified the purposeful correspondent of a key morphologicaldevelopment. The human ancestors managed to expand their nichefollowing the acquisition of fire. Accordingly, the expanded nichealtered the selective forces that human beings were exposed to and,thus, shaping the course human evolution (Lane,2010).Further, the management of the fire treasure including gatheringfirewood, fire making, fire tending and fire transport facilitatedcollective participation, as well as division of labor among themembers of the human species. In a nut shell, the hominid technology(primordial), similar to other human technologies was at some pointthe basis of bio-economic paybacks, as well as a generator of socialorganization and social cooperation.
Froman evolutionary stand point, it is rather obvious that thedevelopment of the large brain in human beings was the greatestbreakthrough in the evolutionary tree. Different from other speciesof animals, human beings do not have any other methods of defendingthemselves from predation, diseases or starvation besides using thebrain to invent and innovate technology to enhance survival chancesand endure natural selection (Dawkins,1996).Imperatively, human beings have been shaped by evolution to relyalmost entirely on tools and technology for their economic prosperityand basic survival. For instance, human beings cannot run fast enoughto catch a wild animal for their food. In such instances, theydeveloped traps and weapons that could be sued to maim an animal skinit and preserve the meat for use in a future date (Lane,2010).Such preserved food could be traded for other items with people whowere in need.
Similarly,unlike animals men do not adapt to an environment. Instead, humanbeings change the environment to make it habitable using the power oftechnology (Dawkins,1996).From such a perspective human beings can survive in almost everyenvironment, even the most extreme conditions. For instance, thehominids used the fore technology to warm their caves in cold places.Today, people use air conditioners at their homes to warm theirhouses during winter or in places where temperatures remain low yearin year out. Other technologies as the invention of the wheelfacilitated transport from one geographic location to the next(Corning,2005).Today, technological advancements have expanded to encompass air,water and railway transport. Notably, these technologies were andcontinue to be significant contributions to the economic capabilitiesand functions of human beings in the entire history of evolution.
Regardingknowledge and technology in selective breeding, human beings haveincreased their economic function and capacities by enhancinglivestock and crop production. The process involves improving theperformance of off springs in terms of resistance to draught anddiseases, as well as production of milk, eggs and fur among otherproducts. (Darwin,1909)In a nut shell, technology enabled human beings make the best out oftheir investment and earn maximum revenue from it. Profitableestablishments are the basis for economic excellence in the humanevolution process. In an attempt to better understand the impacttechnology on the economic capabilities of human beings, this paperwill explore biotechnology as the primary technology in agriculturethat promises vast output from crops and livestock for human use(Dawkins,2006).The outputs from biotechnology are not only more nutritious andplenty in volume, but aloes tolerant to pests and diseases.
Agriculturalbiotechnology describes an extension of traditional and perhapsevolutionary breeding techniques, which aim at increasing precisionand versatility. Basically, precision allows for the selection ofdesirable individual traits of an organism while versatility permitsgenes to be obtained from any organism for the intended combinations.The ag-biotech products that are obtained from the above processesresult to different economic and technical implications as describedbelow.
Supply-enhancingproducts have the potential of improving the welfare of the consumerdepending on producers’ distribution across regions and subgroups,as well as characteristics of the technology in question (Lane,2010).These technologies can be intellectualized as enhancements in thetechnological associations connecting inputs to outputs. Insituations where a firm is faced with a challenge of choosing thevariety to produce, the economic conditions will be factored todetermine the likelihood of taking one variety at the expense of theother. In essence, biotechnology has enhanced the development of cropvarieties and animal breeds that give farmers high output per unit ofinput. This translates to the reality of commercialization of bothcrop and livestock farming, which have given farmer lots of revenue.Therefore, this particular technology (biotechnology) has promotedthe economic capabilities of human beings.
Secondly,biotechnology has facilitated the discovery of a line crop andlivestock varieties that can kill, tolerate or repel pests, as wellas endure applications of genetically engineered organisms andherbicides. The said varieties have, over time, achieved commercialsuccess because of their cost effectiveness and the simplicity of thegenetic manipulations that are involved in their production. Pestproblems have been one of the most significant economic drawbacks incommercial agriculture, especially considering that pest and diseasescontrol are strictly regulated by governments.
Seedcompanies with advantage in organic processes enjoy the vast marketthat is provided by pest control biotechnology. The seeds that areobtained from biological processes are developed to resist diseasesand pest attacks (Lane,2010).Such seeds not only save commercial farmers herbicides and pesticideexpenses, but also labor and machinery that is required to spray thechemicals to crops. The level of expenses in the farming industry isconsiderably lowered through biotechnology, and this increases theprofit margins.
Further,desirable characteristics in agricultural products have been attainedthrough modification of agricultural products. One of the mostinteresting quality enhancing breakthrough in biotechnology have beenthe improvement of shelf life for the perishable agriculturalproducts to ensure that they reach the customers while still fresh.Customers pay good prices for fresh products and the same money canbe invested in other forms of business, or used to expand the farmsfor more produce. Similarly, biotechnology granted farmers withprovisions for extended periods of harvesting for desirable cropvarieties. Fresh vegetables and fruits attract relatively high priceseither late of early in a season (Dawkins,2006).Consumers are known to pay high prices for sweeter and moreattractive products increasing the economic capacities of people whoare involved in the business. This is nothing less than theimprovement of the economic capabilities of human kind as peopleimprove their living standards from the high proceeds from farming.
Finally,biotechnology have been in the forefront in the development of newproducts in the agricultural sphere. In fact, biotechnology havesignificantly increased the range of agricultural activities and soare the products form the same. Using biotechnology, it has becomepossible to expand the range of farmed species as production of betacarotene in algae (Lane,2010).Further, biotechnology have had similar application where plants andanimals in horticulture are modified to yield pharmaceuticalproducts. Similarly, biotechnology has contributed toindustrialization of agriculture following, especially through theinvolvement of farmers in the vertical chain of production ofpharmaceutical products. The entire process revolves around companiesthat hire growers to produce medical substances, or cases ofpharmaceutical companies that engage in farming activities to producethe same (Dawkins,2006).Therefore, biotechnology products offer new opportunities for farmingto people who are vertically involved in a production chain.
Theabove illustration of the impact of technology on the economiccapabilities of the human beings proves that human beings are capableof manipulating the environment is his favor. Most of the things topeople do are motivated by the potential benefits that can berealized from the activity, as well as the possibility of increasingthe competitive advantage of individuals. Besides inventingthemselves, human beings have the ability to change the course ofevolution of other species of plants and animals.
Throughextensive research and experimentation on breeding in crops andanimals, human beings have achieved high levels of products, whichvary from the original strains significantly. The variations have notbeen achieved through natural selection with regard to environmentalchanges that eliminate the less adapted in favor of the well adapted,but human manipulations that target other desirable feature as fastgrowth, improved taste and improved tolerance (Dawkins,2006).The desired qualities in a plant or animal are achieved throughextensive selection and breeding, which is done over a long period.The selection patterns are not uniform in the entire planet as everyfarmer selects the qualities that fit his circumstances and needs. Inthis sense, huge variations can be observed in animals or plants ofthe same species (Darwin,1909).The primary objective, however, is to use the advancements in scienceand technology in promoting the economic capabilities of humankind.
Inconclusion, technology is the pillar that holds the human society interms of economic prosperity through effective communication andcontrolled hybrid production. Human biological evolution is one ofthe most remarkable process in the history of evolution of allspecies of plants and animals. The entire process of evolution wasguided by collaborative and cooperative forces, whose combinationsyielded the present form of human species. Given the large brain sizein humans, which was the mother of all developments in the humanspecies, humankind have managed to surpass all other species ofplants and animals in gaining adaptive advantages. Imperatively, thehuman species manipulates the environment to improve his chances ofsurviving in harsh conditions. Accordingly, the invention of fire andits continuous use for various purposes expanded the evolutionaryniche of man giving him a competitive edge in the environment.Biotechnology is a comprehensive illustration of the impact oftechnology in enhancing the economic capability of man. The variousprovisions and products of biotechnology no doubt improved andcontinue to improve the economic might of people.
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Darwin,C. (1909). Theorigin of species.New York: P.F. Collier & Son.
Dawkins,R. (1996). Theblind watchmaker: Why the evidence of evolution reveals a universewithout design.New York: Norton.
Dawkins,R. (2006). Theselfish gene.Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lane,N. (2010). Lifeascending: The ten great inventions of evolution.London: Profile Books.