Merlin Donald does not use the term co-evolution

Parade, Cusco, Peru, 27. 8. 1989
Parade, Cusco, Peru, 27. 8. 1989

in this strictly biological sense when he writes:

Our brain has developed in co-evolution with culture (p.15)

In Donald’s work, it is not an issue of two independent creatures or of mutual selection pressure but rather a mutual benefit of culture and brain. If culture, like the brain, were a human organ, we could speak of a symbiosis. Regardless of the terms, it is clear what Donald means.

According to his hypothesis, the human brain has developed together with human culture; brain and culture are dependent on each other. Donald can rely thereby on Charles Darwin, who explained in the Descent of Man: :

A great step in the development of intellect must have taken place as soon as semi-artificial and semi-intuitive language were used; for the constant use of language will have had an effect on the brain and produced a hereditary effect; and this in turn will have benefited the perfection of language.

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The Canadian Merlin Donald believes he can prove that human culture and brain

Archbishop's Palace, formerly Inca Roca Palace, Cusco, Peru
Archbishop's Palace, formerly Inca Roca Palace, Cusco, Peru

have developed together in co-evolution.

The American Michael Tomasello, a researcher in Leipzig, believes that joint work and target-oriented joint activities were the decisive impulses on the path to a human culture.

There are thus two exponents who worked out concepts for the evolution of the human mind: Donald from an idealistic philosophical perspective and Tomasello from a behavioural perspective. Both refer to Darwin’s theory of evolution and to the latest scientific findings on evolution.

Both theories are particularly interesting and, in many ways, instructive, however neither of them has received the general recognition that would be comparable to the recognition of the physical evolution of human beings.

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