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01.12.2018 | Review | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 1/2018

Evolutionary ethnobiology and cultural evolution: opportunities for research and dialog

Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine > Ausgabe 1/2018
Flávia Rosa Santoro, André Luiz Borba Nascimento, Gustavo Taboada Soldati, Washington Soares Ferreira Júnior, Ulysses Paulino Albuquerque


The interest in theoretical frameworks that improve our understanding of social-ecological systems is growing within the field of ethnobiology. Several evolutionary questions may underlie the relationships between people and the natural resources that are investigated in this field. A new branch of research, known as evolutionary ethnobiology (EE), focuses on these questions and has recently been formally conceptualized. The field of cultural evolution (CE) has significantly contributed to the development of this new field, and it has introduced the Darwinian concepts of variation, competition, and heredity to studies that focus on the dynamics of local knowledge. In this article, we introduce CE as an important theoretical framework for evolutionary ethnobiological research. We present the basic concepts and assumptions of CE, along with the adjustments that are necessary for its application in EE. We discuss different ethnobiological studies in the context of this new framework and the new opportunities for research that exist in this area. We also propose a dialog that includes our findings in the context of cultural evolution.
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