That sounds reasonable: I agree that our natures, abilities, and even cultures are powerfully shaped by evolution and environmental changes.
Still, I’m not satisfied with the idea that humans have settled everywhere they have (or do everything they do) as a result of physiological necessity. Of course, beyond what we’ll do for food and shelter, all animals seems willing to risk life and limb for sex. But even if we take the reproductive drive into account, I find it hard to imagine that we would have settled the great frozen north in the 1800's (when the climate was even less hospitable than it is today) to impress and entice potential mates while leaving so many abundant and temperate lands relatively uninhabited to this day. Settling Edmonton while leaving Napa Valley relatively uninhabited seems like a mark of mental illness natural selection would hurry to snuff out.
I’ve wondered if Maslow’s hierarchy of needs could explain humanity’s seemingly irrational habits if we assume the minimum threshold required to fulfill our more basic needs is incredibly low, but it seems like his hierarchy is reversed for a sizable portion of the human population who’ll refuse to touch a hot water knob within their reach merely to push their psychological limits or discover the counter-intuitive health benefits of a cold shower. And if that’s the case, can environmental pressures really account for the infinite curiosity and insatiable hunger so many humans have for (self)knowledge for knowledge’s sake?
At any rate, thanks for your response.