Today we view human nature—the genetically endowed network of needs, desires, capacities, preferences, and impulses on which culture is built—as having been fixed only since the advent of agriculture and cities, the events that initiated our present epoch, the Holocene, around ten thousand years ago.
Denis Dutton, 2009.
The geological epoch preceding the Holocene was the Pleistocene, spanning periods of repeated glaciations. The Holocene began around ten thousand years ago (or eleven or twelve thousand years ago, depending on the employed dating methods) and continues to the present. We are shaping the Holocene, while we as today's human species were shaped during the Pleistocene. Denis Dutton shows how our universal dispositions and human behavior patterns arose during the Pleistocene and can be found as motives, emotions, desires and ambitions reflected in arts and culture—around the globe.
Keywords: evolution, history, anthropology.
Denis Dutton: The Art Instinct. Beauty, Pleasure & Human Evolution. Bloomsbury Press, New York, 2009; pp. 41-42.