Authors: Maciej Henneberg, Arthur Saniotis

The Dynamic Human

eBook: US $39 Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $114
Printed Copy: US $95
Library License: US $156
ISBN: 978-1-68108-236-3 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-68108-235-6 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2016
DOI: 10.2174/97816810823561160101


The natural world can be viewed as a continuously changing complex system comprising variable units that do not conform to any stable plan. Within this framework, human evolution is not the story of the past that created Homo sapiens and then handed this account over to written history. It is the ongoing process that shapes us now and will shape us in the future, body and mind. We must understand it in order to survive and be able to direct it to our advantage. The Dynamic Human presents a general theory of how humans function as a multi-individual system embedded in the natural world. The authors employ a unified approach of systems theory to outline forces that direct ongoing human evolution and produce its outcomes in terms of the past, present and future. Readers will find a perspective on the human place in nature, through a brief account of the past human evolution over 10 million years ago, a discussion of the earliest appearance of humans some 2 million years ago, and a description of the mechanisms of the changes in the gene pool of humans from generation-to-generation. Understanding the forces involved in these mechanisms (physical and mental growth and development) may allow us to understand human evolution better. The Dynamic Human presents a simplified perspective on human evolution for all readers interested in a discourse on the origins, nature and future of human beings.


Not everyone accepts organic evolution. Those who accept it often see it as a list of events that occurred in the past and produced fossil entities. In relation to our own origins, if we accept evolution at all, we see it as a creative force that must have produced “the first human” at a particular time and in a particular place. Lots of research effort has been expended to pinpoint the precise date and location of this event. Once we have learned when and where our species emerged we think it has been complete and the rest is just learning how it spread around the world and shaped its history. We are studying its characteristics in order to better understand how to save and prolong its life. There is still a tendency to view human beings as a static category that will continue as such into the future unless some catastrophe causes its extinction. The same train of thought makes us believe that we are all copies of the same template that can be understood by studying what is typical.

There is an alternate approach that views the world as a continuously changing complex system comprising variable units that do not conform to any stable plan. We humans are a part of this interminably changing system. We did not appear suddenly and we are not resistant to change.

Like other organisms, human animals continue to evolve generation by generation. As noted by many thinkers, evolution is a non-linear process that is notoriously indeterminate. No two organisms, including humans, are exactly alike and each generation differs, albeit sometimes imperceptibly from the previous and the next generation.

Human mind has a biological substrate. It is not just the very physical structure of the brain with its maze of interconnected nerve cells, but also the chemical regulation of the entire body that changes the way nerve cells communicate. Therefore the entire body informs the mind. Our bodies are suffused in the rhythms of nature. The body is a plenum of kaleidoscopic interactions. Through this, individual minds communicate with nature and with each other. This is an interaction borne out of millions of years of trial and error embedded in nature. The human mind is not a logical machine, it is a product of organic interactions.

Our present-day existence is but a short stop in the journey of our ancestors from the past into the future. While our technologies may continue to inform the journey of human bodies and minds, they are incapable of arresting it.

Maciej Henneberg and Arthur Saniotis
Biological Anthropology and Comparative Anatomy Unit
The University of Adelaide, Australia and
The Institute of Evolutionary Medicine,
University of Zurich, Switzerland