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The Evolution of Human Ultra-sociality

Author: Peter J. Richerson, Robert Boyd
Organisation: University of California, Davis University of California, Los Angeles
Publish Date: June 1997
Country: Global
Sector: Social Development
Method: Creative thinking
Theme: Social Transfers
Type: Other publication
Language: English
Tags: Humans, Sociality, Cultural evolution, Kin selection, Reciprocity, Punishment, Genetic selection, Ideology, Ingroup marking

Our basic claim in this chapter is that cultural evolutionary processes drove the evolution of human ultra-sociality. The cultural transmission of ordinary adaptive information has advantages in the highly variable environments of the Pleistocene, and the hominine line diverged from the last common ape ancestor in developing a massive dependence on adaptive social and technological traditions. Some of these processes have the effect of making group selection on cultural variation possible and the use of cultural cues to structure populations common. As cultural group selection began to produce primitive patterns of ingroup cooperation and outgroup hostility, human cognitive capacities and emotional responses, presumably coded in large measure by genes, responded to adapt people to living in culturally defined cooperative groups.
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