Anthropology, Department of


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Published in Nebraska Anthropologist Vol. 25 (2010). Copyright © Daniel E. Lomelin; published by The University of Nebraska-Lincoln AnthroGroup.


Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders are multifaceted conditions that are being diagnosed increasingly in Western nations. Current research suggests genetic and epigenetic effects as well as social and environmental conditions all playing direct roles in the expression and development of these disorders. Evaluating the development of the human brain s increased intelligence and plasticity in terms of human life history and evolutionary trade offs allows for new hypotheses to be formed regarding the development of the disorders. Aspects of the broad autism phenotype may have given ancient humans advantages in tool making and mechanical thinking, thus preserving the trait in various cultures to the modern day.

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