Cultural evolution of the structure of human groups

Fiona M. Jordan, Carel van Schaik, Pieter François, Herbert Gintis, Daniel B. M. Haun, Daniel J. Hruschka, Marco A. Janssen, James A. Kitts, Laurent Lehmann, Sarah Mathew, Peter J. Richerson, Peter Turchin, Polly Wiessner
MIT Press November 2, 2013 Journal Link PDF


Small-scale human societies are a leap in size and complexity from those of our primate ancestors. We propose that the behavioral predispositions which allowed the evolution of small-scale societies were also those that allowed the cultural evolution of large-scale sociality, in the form of multiple transitions to large-scale societies. Although sufficient, the cultural evolutionary processes that acted on these predispositions also needed a unique set of niche parameters, including ecological factors, guiding norms, and technologies of social control and coordination. Identifying the regularities and patterns in these factors will be the empirical challenge for the future. Published in the Strungmann Forum Reports Series.
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