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Mind the gap: cooperative breeding and the evolution of our unique features


van Schaik, C P; Burkart, J M (2010). Mind the gap: cooperative breeding and the evolution of our unique features. In: Kappeler, P M; Silk, J B. Mind the gap: tracing the origins of human universals. Berlin, Germany: Springer, 477-496.

Abstract

Humans are strikingly different from our close relatives, the great apes, in mind, behavior and life history. We propose that the evolution of these derived features
was a consequence of the adoption of cooperative breeding by early Homo. Among the species that adopted it, cooperative breeding generally produces changes in psychology toward greater prosociality and greater cognitive abilities. We propose that in our ancestors,
the major energetic inputs to breeding females due to cooperative breeding explain the derived features of human life history and lifted energetic constraints on brain enlargement. Moreover, in combination with great-ape level cognitive abilities, the cooperative-breeding psychology led to the evolution of many of the unusual socio-cognitive traits that we now celebrate as uniquely human: pedagogy, extensive cumulative culture and cultural norms; intensive
and nearly indiscriminate within-group cooperation and morality; a cooperative declarative communication system known as language; and full-blowntheory of mind.

Humans are strikingly different from our close relatives, the great apes, in mind, behavior and life history. We propose that the evolution of these derived features
was a consequence of the adoption of cooperative breeding by early Homo. Among the species that adopted it, cooperative breeding generally produces changes in psychology toward greater prosociality and greater cognitive abilities. We propose that in our ancestors,
the major energetic inputs to breeding females due to cooperative breeding explain the derived features of human life history and lifted energetic constraints on brain enlargement. Moreover, in combination with great-ape level cognitive abilities, the cooperative-breeding psychology led to the evolution of many of the unusual socio-cognitive traits that we now celebrate as uniquely human: pedagogy, extensive cumulative culture and cultural norms; intensive
and nearly indiscriminate within-group cooperation and morality; a cooperative declarative communication system known as language; and full-blowntheory of mind.

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29 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Anthropology
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Language:English
Date:2010
Deposited On:25 Mar 2010 09:48
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:49
Publisher:Springer
ISBN:978-3-642-02724-6
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-02725-3_22
Official URL:http://www.springer.com/life+sciences/behavioural/book/978-3-642-02724-6
Related URLs:http://opac.nebis.ch/F/?local_base=NEBIS&con_lng=GER&func=find-b&find_code=SYS&request=005931652
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-28612

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