The Evolution of Human Uniqueness

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The human species is an outlier in the natural world. Two million years ago our ancestors were a slightly odd apes. Now we occupy the largest ecological and geographical range of any species, have larger biomass, and process more energy. Usually, this transformation is explained in terms of cognitive ability - people are just smarter than all the rest. In this paper I argue that culture, our ability to learn from each other, and cooperation, our ability to make common cause with large groups of unrelated individuals are the real roots of human uniqueness, and sketch an evolutionary account of how these crucial abilities co-evolved with each other and with other features of our life histories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSpanish Journal of Psychology
Volume19
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

Keywords

  • cooperation
  • cultural evolution
  • human evolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Psychology(all)

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