About this Research Topic
The goal of this Research Topic is to shed light on the effects of human self-domestication on the evolution of our species, with a focus on our distinctive cognitive and behavioural phenotype. Compared to extant primates and extinct hominins, humans exhibit many of the features found in domesticated animals. Recent research suggests as well that the regions under positive selection in humans are enriched in candidate genes for domestication in mammals. Interestingly, morphological signatures of domestication have seemingly intensified from 50.000 years ago, when crucial changes in human behaviour and culture took place. According to some hypotheses, the less aggressive behaviour associated with self-domestication might have facilitated the creation of the niche that favoured the emergence of complex behaviours via cultural evolution, in particular, of more complex languages able to support more complex cultural practices. In turn, complex behaviours and cultural practices resulting from self-domestication might have had a feedback effect on our cognitive architecture, thus affecting to the evolution of our distinctive brain and cognition. Overall, it seems that most of the distinctive features of present-days humans can be related to (and perhaps explained by) our self-domestication.
Specific research questions to be addressed by this Research Topic include (but are not limited to):
- morphological, cognitive, and behavioural evidences of human self-domestication
- genetic signatures of domestication in our genome
- physiological signatures of human self-domestication
- effects of self-domestication on human cultural evolution
- effects of self-domestication on language complexity and diversity
- physical, behavioural, and cognitive consequences of aberrant self-domestication in humans
Because of the complex nature of the task, researchers from different fields with an interest in human evolution, cognition, and language, are welcome to contribute to this Research Topic, including (paleo)anthropologists, psychologists, ethologists, primatologists, physicians, biologists, sociologists, archaeologists, linguists, and more.
Keywords: self-domestication, human evolution, culture, language, cognition
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.