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Durham University

Department of Anthropology


Publication details for Dr Jeremy Kendal

Kendal, J.R. (2015). Gene-Culture Coevolution. In International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. Wright, J.D. Oxford: Elsevier. 9: 813-818.
  • Publication type: Chapter in book

Author(s) from Durham


Gene-culture coevolution theory explicitly accounts for the inheritance of genetic and cultural traits whose fitness and
evolutionary trajectory are nonindependent. After describing how a gene-culture coevolutionary account is constructed, the
framework is compared and contrasted against other evolutionary anthropology approaches to the study of human behavior.
This is followed by highlighting a series of examples of gene-culture coevolution in human evolution, focusing largely on
nutrition, disease, and the role of cumulative cultural evolution, which also shows how gene-culture coevolutionary
mechanisms can affect both rates and evolutionary trajectories compared with a standard population genetic or cultural
account. The approach is a powerful tool to understand both ancestral and contemporary human evolution.