On the Evolutionary Uniqueness of Man

  • Theodosius Dobzhansky


The purpose of this article is to review the unique features of the evolutionary process which gave rise to the human species. These unique features are examined in the light of our modern understanding of the methods which bring evolution about. No originality is claimed for any of the ideas presented in the article. The general conception of the nature of human evolution may nevertheless be controversial. If so, the author hopes to have a powerful ally in George G. Simpson, many of whose writings seem to indicate that we are in a general agreement on most, though not on all subjects, and to whom this article is dedicated with admiration and affection on his 70th birthday.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ardrey, R. 1966. The Territorial Imperative. New York, Atheneum.Google Scholar
  2. Bigelow, R. 1969. The Dawn Warriors. Boston, Little, Brown, and Company.Google Scholar
  3. Bronowski, J., and U. Bellugi, 1970. Language, name and concept. Science, 168:669–673.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Darwin, C. 1859. On the Origin of Species. London, Murray. (Facsimile edition, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1964.)Google Scholar
  5. Darwin, C. 1871. The Descent of Man. 2 vols. London, Murray.Google Scholar
  6. Gardner, R. A., and B. T. Gardner. 1969. Teaching sign language to a chimpanzee. Science, 165:664–672.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Geertz, C. 1964. The transition to humanity. In Tax, S., ed., Horizons of Anthropology. Chicago, Aldine.Google Scholar
  8. Hayes, C. 1951. The Ape in Our House. New York, Harper.Google Scholar
  9. Hayes, K. J., and C. Hayes. 1954. The cultural capacity of chimpanzee. Hum. Biol., 26:288–303.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Hockett, Ch. F. 1959. Animal “languages” and human language. In Spuhler, J. N., ed., The Evolution of Man’s Capacity for Culture, pp. 32–39. Detroit, Wayne University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Hockett, Ch. F. and R. Ascher. 1964. The human revolution. Current Anthropol., 5:135–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Holloway, R. L. 1969. Culture, a human domain. Current Anthropol., 10:395–412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Huxley, J. S. 1939. Man in the Modern World. New York, Harper.Google Scholar
  14. Huxley, T. H. 1863. Evidence as to Man’s Place in Nature. New York, D. Appleton and Co.Google Scholar
  15. Jensen, A. R. 1969. How much can we boost IQ and scholastic achievement? Harvard Educational Rev., 39:1–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kluckhohn, C. 1945. The concept of culture. In Linton, R., ed., The Science of Man in the World Crisis. New York, Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Lawick-Goodall, J. van. 1965. New discoveries among Africa’s chimpanzees. Nat. Geogr., 128:802–821.Google Scholar
  18. Lennenberg, E. H. 1964. The capacity for language acquisition. In Cohen, Y. A., ed., Man in Adaptation to Bio social Background. Chicago, Aldine.Google Scholar
  19. Lorenz, K. 1966. On Aggression. New York, Harcourt, Brace.Google Scholar
  20. Montagu, M. F. A. 1955. The Direction of Human Development. New York, Harper.Google Scholar
  21. Oakley, K. P. 1961. On man’s use of fire, with comments on tool-making and hunting. In Washburn, S. L., ed., Social Life of Early Man. Chicago, Aldine.Google Scholar
  22. Scarr-Salapatek, S. 1971. Race, social class, and IQ. Science 174:1285–1295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Simpson, G. G. 1964. This View of Life. New York, Harcourt, Brace.Google Scholar
  24. Simpson, G. G. 1969. Biology and Man. New York, Harcourt, Brace.Google Scholar
  25. Spencer, Herbert. 1863. Principles of Biology. London, Williams.Google Scholar
  26. Teilhard de Chardin, P. 1959. The Phenomenon of man. New York, Harper.Google Scholar
  27. Thorpe, W. H. 1965. Science, Man and Morals. London, Methuen.Google Scholar
  28. Washburn, S. L., and C. S. Lancaster. 1968. The evolution of hunting. In Washburn, S. L., and Ph. C. Jay, eds., Perspectives on Human Evolution. New York, Holt, Rinehart and Winston.Google Scholar
  29. Watson, J. B. 1924. Behaviorism. New York, W. W. Norten & Company, Inc.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Meredith Corporation 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Theodosius Dobzhansky
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeneticsUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

Personalised recommendations