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Is Mark Hauser back? Betrayals helped humans spread?

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Dispersal after 100 000 BC/U York

Marc Hauser? See Evilicious. (They are still trying to rehabilitate him after the “monkeys’ intelligence” debacle.)

Maybe not. From ScienceDaily:

New research suggests that betrayals of trust were the missing link in understanding the rapid spread of our own species around the world. Moral disputes motivated by broken trust and a sense of betrayal became more frequent and motivated early humans to put distance between them and their rivals.

She suggests that as commitments to others became more essential to survival, and human groups ever more motivated to identify and punish those who cheat, the ‘dark’ side of human nature also developed. Moral disputes motivated by broken trust and a sense of betrayal became more frequent and motivated early humans to put distance between them and their rivals.

Hmmm. A science argument for original sin – betrayal. Makes sense, yeah. In the oldest story I know of, the original humans were driven out of the Garden of Eden on that account.

According to Dr Spikins, the emotional bonds which held populations together in crisis had a darker side in heartfelt reactions to betrayal which we still feel today. Larger social networks made it easier to find distant allies with whom to start new colonies, and more efficient hunting technology meant that anyone with a grudge was a danger but it was human emotions which provided the force of repulsion from existing occupied areas which we do not see in other animals.

Well, it’s a reasonable supposition that things often turned out that way.

Cain and kin flee murder scene (c.1880)/Cormon, betacommandbot

“Moral conflicts provoke substantial mobility — the furious ex ally, mate or whole group, with a poisoned spear or projectile intent on seeking revenge or justice, are a strong motivation to get away, and to take almost any risk to do so.

“While we view the global dispersal of our species as a symbol of our success, part of the motivations for such movements reflect a darker, though no less ‘collaborative’, side to human nature.” More.

That happened to Cain, the first recorded murderer, as I recall from Sunday School. He had to go off and make a new life for himself somewhere else.

File:A small cup of coffee.JPG This would make a fine premise for a Clan of the Cave Bear novel, with hints of Genesis. It has the great advantage of sounding quite probable to a reasonable person, unlike most evolutionary psychology claims.

Themes like betrayal and spite would naturally occur, one suspects, to anyone who spent much time in an academic common room.

See also: Are apes entering the Stone Age?

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Here’s the abstract:

The explanations for a rapid dispersal of modern humans after 100,000 BP remain enigmatic. Populations of modern humans took new routes – crossing significant topographic and environmental barriers, including making major sea crossings, and moving into and through risky and difficult environments. Neither population increase nor ecological changes provide an adequate explanation for a pattern of rapid movement, including leaping into new regions (saltation events). Here it is argued that the structural dynamics of emotionally complex collaboration and in depth moral commitments generates regular expulsion events of founding populations. These expulsion events provide an explanation for the as yet elusive element to dispersal. Alongside cognitive and cultural complexity we should recognise the influence of emerging emotional complexity on significant behavioural changes in the Palaeolithic. open access – Penny Spikins. The Geography of Trust and Betrayal: Moral disputes and Late Pleistocene dispersal. Open Quaternary, 2015; DOI: 10.5334/oq.ai

One Reply to “Is Mark Hauser back? Betrayals helped humans spread?

  1. 1
    mahuna says:

    Well, it doesn’t make any sense. Did any of these folks bother to discuss the matter with ANY “primitive” society?

    For the Outcasts, you need several adult males and several adult females to offer any chance at all of the new tribe reproducing well enough to create a stable, permanent group.

    The more common explanation among Anthropologists is that when a tribe becomes “full” (more than 20-30 individuals?), some of the group decide to start living and hunting on the other side of the hill. All very friendly, since the source group are all members of a closely related extended family.

    And we’re talking about 10,000 miles of movement over more than 200,000 years. I think the general estimate is less than 20 miles per generation. So the nephews and cousins could still come home for the holidays if they felt like it.

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