innovation in cultural evolution -- or not!

I spent Friday-Sunday at a special workshop at the KLI about the role of innovation in cultural evolution. My favourite talk was one that pointed out that actually evolution is mostly trying to keep "innovation" (change) out so you can preserve the good solutions already found. So it's not really that hard to innovate, it's just that the innovations get thrown away most of the time because they look like mistakes.

The workshop was cool because it was mostly archaeologists. I don't usually think about human behaviour that much because it is too complicated and changes too fast, but it turned out that I'm getting closer to that stuff now and I really enjoyed most of the talks. But I think I'll keep working on monkeys for now -- it's easier to get complete records of their behaviour (not easy, but easier!) so you can really check your models.