I spend most of my time geeking out over music, but there are a number of other subjects that I like to geek out over as well. One particular favorite is human prehistory, which I find endlessly fascinating. So hearing that the Atlantic was hosting a debate between two scientists (NYU professor of psychology Gary Marcus and University of New Mexico professor of psychology Geoffrey Miller, both of whom have written books on human evolution) on the evolutionary origins of music, I experienced what is known in the scientific community as a “nerd boner.”
Is music just a byproduct of human culture? Or is it more innate, possibly even genetic? That’s the foundation of Marcus and Miller’s discussion, and over the course of it they bring up a number of fascinating subtopics, like singing Neanderthals and the possibility that “rock star” isn’t simply a Western cultural construct but an evolutionary tactic with roots going back to the earliest days of human existence. So much nerd boner material.