Mosquitoes in the Field: Malaria, Farmers and Culturally-Induced Evolution
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Ever since Charles Darwin’s revolutionary book "On the Origin of Species" was published in 1859, evolution via adaptation and natural selection has dominated the life sciences. Since the 1980s, a complement to genetic selection has been developed: Niche construction theory. Niche construction is the coevolutionary feedback loop in which organisms make modifications (ecosystem engineering) to their local environments (niches)—usually as a non-genetic adaptation—and in which these self-modified environments then exert an evolutionary pressure back onto the organism. This paper seeks to show that niche construction is not a product of natural selection, but rather an independent evolutionary process in its own right, challenging the idea that humans cannot affect their own evolution.