The known facts of human evolution are interpreted as evidence for the theory that, for six million years, our ancestral human species lived within a collective mentality intrinsic to their sole adaptation of coordinating their divided labor, i.e., teamwork.
EARLY HUMANS (6→2.5 million years ago)
- At the time humans split from apes, genetic evidence of a population collapse in apes :1 the sterility of individual dominance converted to productivity of collective authority.
- Upright posture (a costly adaptation due to lower back, knee and hip injury) enabled the face and upper body to become the publicly viewed instruments for the sustained-and-simultaneous signaling-and-receiving-signals necessary to coordinate minute-to-minute teamwork.
- In skeletal fossils of species found in different African environments, their feet, ribcage, spine, hands, and shoulders evolved at different rates, but they all were moving in the same direction.2 Why? Because they were all responding to the same social environment of collective motivations evolved for teamwork, which adapted to all physical environments.
- Large molar teeth (megadontia) were evolved for eating grasses in different African climates. True, grasses were generally abundant, but there was also no shortage of other grass-eating animals for potential predation. Early humans became herbivores because competition attendant to high-value meat diminished teamwork.
GENUS HOMO (2.5 million→300,000 years ago)
- Homo Genus eventually became the predominant hunters because they refined instincts for justice as an “immune system” against individual dominance, a pathology for “organic” teamwork. Indeed, justice (punishing dominance) has been observed in far-flung existing hunter-gatherers.3
- Homo peoples cared for their sick beyond that seen in apes.4
- Why did the stone tool industry 1) become uniformly wide-spread across continents and 2) continue to produce the same tear-shaped hand ax for 1.5 million years? To prevent territorial competition, the Homo people evolved ultra-migratory behavior that homogenized the construction of the hand ax, plus evidence they were made in groups.5 So, along with butchering meat, stone tools functioned as a cohesive group activity reflecting their communication: all watching each other for the authority of how it should be done.
- Large brain size correlates with monogamy in animals because synchronizing the care of offspring (as in birds) takes more brain power than negotiating a hierarchy.6 Accordingly, synchronizing the behavior of groups in the Homo people evolved unprecedented brain growth.
HOMO SAPIENS (300,000 years ago→present)
- Comparative studies of apes and developing children have found that communicating collective intentions is unique to humans (“That’s the right way we ought to do it.”).7
- Language is interplay between 1) our archaic collectively motivated grammatical rules, and 2) modern individual impulses to “dress up” sentences with modifiers.
- Self-consciousness occurs when our individual experiences are registered by our archaic mentality, accompanied by the feeling of collective awareness. Our We watches our I.
2. Berger L, Hawks J (2017) Almost Human: The Astonishing Tale of Homo naledi and the Discovery That Changed Our Human Story Washington: National Geographic
3. Boehm C (2012) Moral Origins, The Evolution of Virtue, Altruism, and Shame New York: Basic Books
5. Pitts M, Roberts, M (1998) Fairweather Eden: Life half a million years ago as revealed by excavations at Boxgrove New York: Fromm International.
7. Tomasello M (2019) Becoming Human: A Theory of Ontogeny Cambridge: Harvard U Press