Stones striking stones

Human Nature – Part V: Upright Posture, Great Big Brains and Only One Hand Ax

Filed under: cognitive capacities, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Language

For a fossil to be designated a hominin there must be evidence of upright posture.  However, any orthopedic surgeon can tell you that upright posture produces extreme vulnerability for injuries to the lower back (perennially among the top ER visits), hips and knees, so it is reasonable that the evolutionary advantages of such a costly …

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The urban planet and the history of life

The Urban Planet & the History of Life

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, History | 2 Comments

The May 20th Issue of Science is entitled The Urban Planet. The lead article starts out: In 2014, 54% of the world’s population, or 3.9 billion people, lived in urban areas. That’s up from one-third in 1950, and forecasters say the proportion will rise to 66% by 2050. More than half of urbanites live in …

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Monogamy, Not Competition, Caused Our Brains to Grow

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology

For many years a study on primates by Oxford’s Robin Dunbar (1992) was routinely cited demonstrating that the bigger the primate species’ average group membership, the bigger the brain. A very common way to think about this relationship has been in terms of the evolution of “Machiavellian” intelligence acquired by intragroup hierarchical competition between individuals. …

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