More Cowbell: From Herdsman’s Tool to Cultural Icon – Modern Farmer

See on Scoop.itCultural evolution

How did the cowbell become, you know, “more cowbell”? (Had to pass it on PRT @ModFarm More Cowbell: The evolution of the cowbell from agricultural implement to cultural…

Tom Uytterhoeven’s insight:

This is obviously just a fun little piece to read. But it also shows how one cultural item – in this case a cowbell – can function in different ways. It can be a device to track your herd, an instrument or – not mentioned explicitly in the text – an ornamental item in people’s houses. The thing is that the form of the cowbell does not tell you about its use, you have to look at the context in which it functions. So design and function do not seem to match here, which does not make the study of cultural evolution any easier… Question for biologists out there: could one see an analogy between the different functions of the cowbell and ‘exaptation’?

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