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We begin with very broad strokes: if we take the Ancient Greeks and Romans as founders of Western civilization and ignore the cosmologies of the many other peoples of the world, then from Ptolemy and the first century CE until sixteenth-century Europe, the Earth was the center of the universe and all else rotated around it. With the work of Copernicus, the Earth was demoted and the sun was given the honor of centrality. But by the early twentieth century, the very notion of centrality was abolished and our sun took its place as one among a vast number of stars in an expanding universe. In similar fashion, the centrality of Homo sapiens has steadily declined. In Judeo-Christian-Islamic mythology, intelligent humans were created and given dominion over the Earth by an all-powerful deity; the only other intelligences were that deity itself and its supernatural creations: angels and demons and devils and djinns.
The transformative wave of Darwinian insight continues to expand throughout the human sciences. While still centered on evolution-focused fields such as evolutionary psychology, ethology, and human behavioral ecology, this insight has also influenced cognitive science, neuroscience, feminist discourse, sociocultural anthropology, media studies, and clinical psychology. This handbook's goal is to amplify the wave by bringing together world-leading experts to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of evolution-oriented and influenced fields. While evolutionary psychology remains at the core of the collection, it also covers the history, current standing, debates, and future directions of the panoply of fields entering the Darwinian fold. As such, The Cambridge Handbook of Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Behavior is a valuable reference not just for evolutionary psychologists but also for scholars and students from many fields who wish to see how the evolutionary perspective is relevant to their own work.