Gregory Cochran

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Gregory Cochran
Gregory M. Cochran

1953 (age 66–67)
Alma materUniversity of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
Known forThe 10,000 Year Explosion
Scientific career
FieldsPhysics, Anthropology
InstitutionsUniversity of Utah

Gregory M. Cochran (born 1953) is an American anthropologist and author who argues that cultural innovation resulted in new and constantly shifting selection pressures for genetic change, thereby accelerating human evolution and divergence between human races. From 2004 to 2015, he was a research associate at the anthropology department at the University of Utah.[1] He is co-author of the book The 10,000 Year Explosion.

Human evolution[edit]

In opposition to what he sees as the conventional wisdom that civilization has been a static environment which imposed stabilizing selection on humans, Cochran, along with like-minded anthropologists such as John D. Hawks,[2] contends that haplotype and other data indicate the selection of genes has been strongest since the advent of farming and civilization.[3]

Ashkenazi Jewish intelligence[edit]

Cochran and co-authors Jason Hardy and Henry Harpending suggest that the high average IQ of Ashkenazi Jews may be attributed to natural selection for intelligence during the Middle Ages and a low rate of genetic inflow. Cochran and his colleagues hypothesize that the occupational profile of the Jewish community in medieval Europe had resulted in selection pressure for mutations that increase intelligence, but can also result in hereditary neurological disorders.[4][5]

Gay germ hypothesis[edit]

Cochran has claimed that homosexuality can be considered a disease because it generally reduces or eliminates reproductive output, and he has speculated that homosexuality might be caused by infection by an unknown virus.[6][7][8] However, he does not suggest that the infectious agent that causes homosexuality is spread by homosexuals. Cochran's hypothesis is based on the argument that homosexuality is unlikely to be genetic because it does not follow simple Mendelian inheritance patterns and because natural selection should have largely eliminated genes that cause homosexuality.[6] Cochran has admitted that there is no positive evidence for the gay germ hypothesis,[7] and according to mainstream biology, sexual orientation likely results from complex interplay of genetic, hormonal, and environmental influences.[9][10][11]


  1. ^ "Faculty profile". University of Utah. Archived from the original on 25 September 2017. Retrieved 2016-07-21.
  2. ^ Phelan, Benjamin (October 2008). "How We Evolve". Seed Magazine. pp. 66–73. Archived from the original on 2015-09-12. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  3. ^ Gregory Cochran; Henry Harpending (2009). "Overview: Conventional Wisdom". The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution. Basic Books. pp. 1–25. ISBN 978-0-4650-0221-4.
  4. ^ Kaplan, Karen (April 18, 2009). "Jewish legacy inscribed on genes?". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2015-11-06. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  5. ^ Cochran, Gregory; Hardy, Jason; Harpending, Henry (2005). "Natural History Of Ashkenazi Intelligence" (PDF). Journal of Biosocial Science. 38 (5): 659–93. CiteSeerX doi:10.1017/S0021932005027069. ISSN 0021-9320. PMID 16867211. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-09-11.
  6. ^ a b Cochran, Gregory. "An Evolutionary Look at Human Homosexuality". Archived from the original on 11 October 2008. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  7. ^ a b "Cause of Homosexuality: Gene or Virus?". 2005. Archived from the original on March 2, 2005. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  8. ^ Hopper, Judith (February 1998). "A New Germ Theory (Part Two)". The Atlantic Monthly. pp. 41–53. Archived from the original on 2015-09-15. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  9. ^ Frankowski BL; American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Adolescence (June 2004). "Sexual orientation and adolescents". Pediatrics. 113 (6): 1827–32. doi:10.1542/peds.113.6.1827. PMID 15173519.
  10. ^ Mary Ann Lamanna; Agnes Riedmann; Susan D Stewart (2014). Marriages, Families, and Relationships: Making Choices in a Diverse Society. Cengage Learning. p. 82. ISBN 978-1305176898. Retrieved February 11, 2016. The reason some individuals develop a gay sexual identity has not been definitively established  – nor do we yet understand the development of heterosexuality. The American Psychological Association (APA) takes the position that a variety of factors impact a person's sexuality. The most recent literature from the APA says that sexual orientation is not a choice that can be changed at will, and that sexual orientation is most likely the result of a complex interaction of environmental, cognitive and biological shaped at an early age...[and evidence suggests] biological, including genetic or inborn hormonal factors, play a significant role in a person's sexuality (American Psychological Association 2010).
  11. ^ Gail Wiscarz Stuart (2014). Principles and Practice of Psychiatric Nursing. Elsevier Health Sciences. p. 502. ISBN 978-0323294126. Retrieved February 11, 2016. No conclusive evidence supports any one specific cause of homosexuality; however, most researchers agree that biological and social factors influence the development of sexual orientation.

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