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INTERNATIONAL DARWIN DAY

"The Agricultural Revolution: The Cultural Side of Biocultural Evolution"

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Tom Rocek

Abstract:
In developing his theory of natural selection, Darwin drew significant insights from the modification of plants and animals under the cultural practices of domestication; in fact the first chapter of Origin of Species is entitled “Variation Under Domestication.”  But here I describe insights in the other direction: the consequences of that process of plant and animal domestication on human culture.  The so called “agricultural revolution” is a classic examples of the biocultural feedback that characterizes the human adaptation in which human-caused changes to other organisms in turn transformed human society.  In this talk I describe examples of this process and parallels seen independently in the Americas and in the Old World.

Tom Rocek Bio:
Tom Rocek received his Ph.D. from t​he University of Michigan in 1985, was a fellow at the School of American Research (now School of Advanced Research) in Santa Fe 1985-1986, a visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Oregon State University 1986-1987, and then joined the University of Delaware where he is currently an Associate Professor of Anthropology.  His research has included studies of historical Navajo settlements on the Navajo Nation (Navajo Multi-Household Social Units: Archaeology on Black Mesa, Arizona; University of Arizona Press, 1995) and Formative through Late Prehistoric research in New Mexico, particularly within the Jornada branch of the Mogollon archaeological culture (The Henderson Site Burials: Glimpses of a Late Prehistoric Population in the Pecos Valley,with John Speth.  Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, 1986; Diversity on the Edge of the Southwest: Late Hunter-gatherers and Farmers of the Jornada Mogollon with Nancy Kenmotsu (editors) [in prep]; The Dunlap-Salazar Site [in prep]).  His research interests include middle-range societies, agricultural origins, mobility and sedentism, quantitative analysis, and particularly comparative approaches to archaeological analysis (Seasonality and Sedentism : Archaeological Perspectives from Old and New World Sites, with Bar-Yosef (editors), Peabody Museum, Harvard University), 2004.  Most recently, this comparative interests have included both the Formative period in the Southwestern United States and the Neolithic period in the Czech Republic.  He is a member of the Society for American Archaeology, the American Anthropological Association, the European Association of Archaeologists, the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society and the Archaeological Society of New Mexico. 

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INTERNATIONAL DARWIN DAY
  • Interdisciplinary Science Learning Laboratories
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