“The development of symbolic thought and complex communication did nothing less than alter human evolution. For one thing, high tech transportation means that the world, though ethnically diverse, now really consists of a single, huge population. ‘Everything we know about evolution suggests that to get true innovation, you need small isolated populations,’ says Tattersall, ‘which is now unthinkable.’”
“Not only is a new human species next to impossible, but technology has essentially eliminated natural selection as well. During prehistory, only the fittest individuals and species survived to reproduce. Now strong and weak alike have access to medicine, food and shelter of unprecedented quality and abundance.’ “Poor peasants in the Third World” says University of Michigan anthropologist Milford Wolpoff, “are better off than the Emperor of China was 1,000 years ago.”‘
This quote is both profound and thought-provoking and has implications ranging from religious and anthropological ones to global business issues as well. It is not possible to look at the business aspects in total isolation from the influence of the human side.
The true innovation referred to in the quote is the evolution of the small, isolated populations themselves that gave them the best chance to survive, reproduce, and prosper in their particular environment. Different environments produced different variations or peculiarities; in other words, different unique innovations. Meaningful human evolution producing those unique characteristics took many generations. The development of their local technology (tools and their use) was integral to that process and to natural selection.
Michael D. Remonick and Andrea Dorfman, Up From The Apes, (Time Magazine, August 23, 1999), 58.