Editorial: self-domestication and human evolution

Antonio Benítez-Burraco*, Zanna Clay, Vera Kempe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
100 Downloads (Pure)


The human self-domestication hypothesis, which traces back to Darwin himself, has experienced a recent resurgence in interest as an account for how modern human behaviors, morphology, and culture might have evolved. Although modern humans exhibit many shared features with other closely-related species, there is evidence of a distinct suite of derived physical, cognitive, and behavioral traits which are indicative of a domestication-like process. In order to understand the evolutionary path toward these distinct human traits, we need refined evolutionary models that provide mechanistic accounts for the multiple feedback loops that occur between cultural and biological evolutionary processes, whereby selection pressures for modern human traits, including language, may have affected cultural practice, which, in turn, created niches that impacted their biological evolution. With recent advances in the field, the present volume brings together an exciting range of theoretical perspectives that aspire to this goal.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2007
Number of pages2
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Early online date25 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2020


  • Self-domestication
  • Human evolution
  • Culture
  • Language
  • Cognition


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