Bigger groups mean complex culturesBreaking News
tags: human evolution
Humanity's success depends on the ability of humans to copy, and build on, the works of their predecessors. Over time, human society has accumulated technologies, skills and knowledge beyond the scope of any single individual.
Now, two teams of scientists have independently shown that the strength of this cumulative culture depends on the size and interconnectedness of social groups. Through laboratory experiments, they showed that complex cultural traditions — from making fishing nets to tying knots — last longer and improve faster at the hands of larger, more sociable groups. This helps to explain why some groups, such as Tasmanian aboriginals, lost many valuable skills and technologies as their populations shrank.
“For producing fancy tools and complexity, it’s better to be social than smart,” says psychologist Joe Henrich of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, the lead author of one of the two studies, published today in Proceedings of the Royal Society B1. “And things that make us social are going to make us seem smarter.”...
comments powered by Disqus
- New book says amount of mustard gas exposure in World War II may be higher than acknowledged by government
- Canada’s Secret to Resisting the West’s Populist Wave
- Trump’s travel ban is built on a law meant to ‘protect’ the U.S. from Jews and communists
- The Time to Retrieve Time’s Time Capsule Is at Hand
- Manassas church opens restored slave cabin to the public
- John B. Boles wants students to know more about Jefferson than that he was a slaveholder
- Historian Daniel K. Williams says Democrats have a religion problem
- Bill O’Reilly – America’s best-selling “historian” – ridiculed in Harper’s for writing bad history
- Largest history festival is the UK criticized for being white and male
- Eric Foner doesn’t think much of a book that claims Lincoln moved slowly to emancipate blacks because he was a racist