Re: Fw: An Individualistic Step

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Thu 14 Nov 2002 - 20:07:49 GMT

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    >----- Original Message -----
    >From: "Chris Taylor" <>
    > > Interesting stuff. If we can assume that (a) 600cc is a 'small' brain
    > > (bigger than an average male gorilla I think), and (b) (para)humans
    > > weren't especially social, then I'd buy it.
    > >
    > > I can see how tribe formation might be facilitated by a challenging new
    > > environment (especially a colder one); followed by the classic feedback
    > > effect of modelling others' brains, to get to a big brain. Weren't we
    > > already dwelling in shared caves by the time we were leaving Africa
    > > though? I suppose a shared cave doesn't imply sociality... Do you have
    > > anything to suggest we might *not* have been particularly social about
    > > then? (I don't know what was in the Aiello and Dunbar paper you cited)
    >Aiello Leslie and R.I.M. Dunbar, ' Neocortex Size, Group Size, and the
    >evolution of Language', Current Anthropology 34 ( 1993): 184- 93
    >Do we have anything that we were not particularly social about,....
    >I suppose we can say family, (a) there were any, not atleast in the
    >scheme I propose, because family would indicate to be a secondary step
    >of a by the bias individualistic process, (b) compassion and making friends
    >were out of the question, there was no special need to act kindly or to
    >behave in a pleasant way, (c) even caring for the offspring would be
    >problematic, if there were children called as such.
    >There was no moral habitus, no will for consideration because they
    >are social skills, and social implies ' group ' of some kind.
    >In cases of children I would suggest that the ' caring ' began by the
    >first signs of antropogenesis, before they would be just ' little appen-
    >dixis '_ even " sex " would have raised quite a hell !
    >I think this is very difficult to comprehend. We can ask ourself the
    >question if anything that close to the " natural " basics of nature can or
    >did indeed exist or had existed !
    >Were we dwelling the caves together at the time of Out of Africa !?
    >Perhaps, I have no recollection of such a things, it is IMO hard to
    >understand too, if we were out there on the plains... but anyway,
    >yes a shared cave wouldn 't imply sociality_ an good analogy would
    >be the freeway on a sunny Sunday morning towards the seaside...
    >many cars packed together sharing the same road, but all individuals
    >heading to their destination, without any concern towards the other(s).
    >Nothing that much changed, didn 't it !?
    >Thanks for the comment Chris, it was welcomed...
    Most mammals are social animals that live in family groups and cooperate with each other. Even predators such as lions and wolves. Chimps and monkeys have a social order. Any animal that has a pecking order implies they have the rudiments of a society of some kind. To assume they are all individuals is to assume the opposite of what appears to be true in the wild.

    The nature of suckling the young requires a certain togetherness on the part of the members of the species. If something happens to the mother, most species don't just abandon the children of that mother. Other members of the species take over the job. I've even heard of dogs suckling kittens the instict is so strong within divergent species. Whales and dolphins travel in social groups that are unlike fish, which travel together more like cars on the highway.

    I think it's a mistake to assume that social order and cooperation are the exception rather than the rule.


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