Homo Sapiens the Explorer

Oregon Trail

There exists a “restless” gene — a genetic predisposition toward exploration — in some humans. It’s what drove ancient people to migrate around the world.

People with this gene thrive in dynamic environments, but wither away in boring stable ones.

I’d speculate that the majority of Americans have this gene. After all, save for Native Americans, we’re all nth-generation immigrants. Our culture embraces innovation and exploration — that’s why pilots get all the hot chicks.

[Our culture] gives our malleable genomes, imaginative minds, and clever hands the power to transform even the strongest forces in our environment—wind, water, current—from threat to opportunity. Let the wind rise to a howl and raise a great sea; we needn’t stay home or become flotsam, for we can change tack, trim sail, and become what amounts to a different vessel.

Restless Genes — National Geographic