The environment shapes traditional knowledge

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The ability to transmit knowledge from one generation to the next has shaped human history, allowing us to refine our survival strategies and live in diverse habitats. However, a study of 12 ethnic groups in Nepal has revealed that the correlation between traditional knowledge – in this case, medicinal plant use – and cultural inheritance is not as strong as you would think. The study shows that the natural environment has greater influence in shaping traditional medicinal plant use than ancestry, with cultures dynamically adapting their traditional knowledge to local environments as needed. 

Dr Simon Greenhill

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Updated:  11 January, 2015/Responsible Officer:  Dean, ANU College of Asia & the Pacific/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team