All presently living beings are the most recent manifestations of various selection pressures and we humans are the current result of a combination of natural selection, sexual selection, artificial selection and Eveish selection. Those first selection pressures brought us our human bodies but it was the Eveish selections which brought us our humanity.
Natural selection is one of the foundations of all life because any organism must be able to survive in the environment in which it exists before it can reproduce. An organism may be filled with excellent qualities of life force for some environment but if it is unlucky at some moment in its time and place of existence it will be gone from its species gene pool. The species members who happened to reside their entire lives in an environment in which they can survive and reproduce, even if only marginally, can adapt to that environment and in the long run thrive there.
Sexual selection is a little different, it is where members of a species select other members of their own species for mating and reproduction. The mates chosen are those individuals showing the most health and vigor. The creatures who are best adapted to the local environment will be most vigorous because they eat better, fend off predators better, and endure the weather better etc.. This sexual selection process doesn’t require the death of the individuals to be operative and thus permits a broader amount of latent adaptation to be available within a species. When the environment changes a species using sexual selection will adapt more quickly than one which is limited to natural selection. A broad base of available and quickly applied adaptations to changing circumstances is valuable trait in itself.
Artificial selection is limited to human manipulation. It is an intentional and conscious process whereby modern farmers and breeders choose and control what qualities of plants and animals they wish to preserve. They converse amongst themselves and have objectively judged contests to determine which living offspring most display the qualities which best deliver what they seek. There has been some awareness of this breeding for thousands of years but it wasn’t until the County Fairs of the late Medieval and early Industrial Revolution that it became intellectualized as contests. It wasn’t until Mendelian Laws were discovered that good control was gained over the looser earlier processes. There were guide lines earlier such as “Like breeds like” and “Breed the best eat the rest” and from the Mayan’s “Bury the best”. This type of domesticated improvement made clear strides for the last 250 years and is still going on but now there are various ways of direct gene manipulation which hurries the process even more. Even so the species must be grown to adult condition for the artificial selection to take place effectively.
Eveish selection is a new term delineating what we humans have been doing to other humans for over 50,000 years. It is a form of sexual selection but with a human difference. The older sexual selection tends to choose a single quality as a marker for genetic health and thus environmental adaptedness but Eveish selection chooses a composite of many, many qualities. Human women make their selection of mates based not only on animal vigor but on all of the qualities in a mate including those which distinguish humans from other animals. It is a very complex decision process because the environment is very complex and the qualities being valued are difficult to assess, even for humans. Women converse at great length with each other about humans the various human qualities and it is generally given the derogatory name of gossip. But, it is this measuring of humans against some infinitely variable complex of qualities which is what gossip is about and it is what ultimately improves the quality of the human species from one generation to the next.
I made this composite picture, derived from Michelangelo’s “God creating Adam” and Goya’s “Naked Maja” to illustrate my theory of human style selection in action. The picture shows Adam having ascended some difficulty, showing his prowess over another man and Eve choosing him as her mate but with the advice and counsel of a group of angelic friends whispering in her ear.
Males are still choosing females based on their physical attractiveness, health and vigor but females have been choosing males since the beginning of modern humans and of speech for all of those qualities which make us human. It is reasonable in this view to replace Michelangelo’s God as the creator of the human species with Eve and her talkative companions.
See my further development of this idea at:
Charles Darwin struggled with the problem of human evolution in his book, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex: (1881). He argued that natural selection would probably not account for all of the unique human adaptations but that sexual selection was sufficient given enough time. The real problem was there didn’t seem to be sufficient geological time for the adaptations to have occurred and that human adaptations had been too rapid.
Alfred Russel Wallace’s thoughts on human evolution are in, Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection: (1870). He explores the idea of some guiding-principle because humans had acquired such unusual traits, such as great intelligence, too quickly for evolution and selection to have created them. He got distracted by the popular pseudoscientific idea of the time, we now call it Spiritualism, which postulated that humans had an eternal spirit that was separate from the body and that there could be communication with these spirits . Perhaps, it was worth the attempt to try and verify that idea but it has never worked in properly demonstrable ways.
Both of these men thought modern humans to have evolved too far and too fast to have reached their present state through either natural selection or sexual selection. However, even though both of them had vast knowledge of artificial selection they never pursued that idea, apparently because they thought it was necessary to have advanced human capacities to do the thinking and talking necessary for artificial selection to work. Probably, both of them would have found the Eveish selection process in a positive feedback loop to be interesting and to be capable of producing very quick results.
Modern man was created by ancient women.