The adaptive legacy of human evolution: A search for the environment of evolutionary adaptedness


  • Robert Foley

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    • Robert Foley is a member of the Human Evolutionary Biology Research Group in the Department of Biological Anthropology at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of King's College. He has carried out research on the evolutionary ecology of early hominids, and is now working as part of an inter-disciplinary research project on the evolution of human diversity at the King's College Cambridge Research Centre. Apart from edited books and articles, he has published Another Unique Species: Patterns in Human Evolutionary Ecology (John Wiley, 1987) and Humans Before Humanity: An Evolutionary Perspective (Blackwells Publishers, 1995).


The growth of evolutionary psychology has led to renewed interest in what might be the significant evolutionary heritage of people living today, and in the extent to which humans are suited to a particular adaptive environment—the EEA. The EEA, though, is a new tool in the battery of evolutionary concepts, and it is important both that it is scrutinized for its utility, and that the actual reconstructions of the environments in which humans and hominids evolved are based on sound palaeobiological inference and an appropriate use of the phylogenetic context of primate evolution.