Cultural Complexity And Its Impact On Modern Humans

959 WordsJun 24, 20154 Pages
Cultural complexity would not be possible without advanced cognition, but it was not likely an initial selective force in the development of larger brains. As high cognitive ability is a precondition for flexible foraging strategies, which in turn makes larger group sizes and a more stratified distribution of resources possible, these central aspects of complicated cultures are not able to explain the forces behind human encephalization. Rather, complex ecological features, such as seasonality and large-scale climate change, exerted adaptive pressure toward the development of cognitive ability on predecessors to modern humans. Only after cognitive ability developed to a point so as to allow the creation of complicated cultures could social pressures significantly influence the evolutionary trajectory of modern humans. Finally, the high energetic costs associated with large brains make prosociality, which mitigates the amount of energy wasted in competition and enable coordinated foraging strategies, an important catalyst for encephalization. Preexisting sociability and advanced cognition provide the foundations for the behavioral flexibility and complicated cultures characteristic of modern humans. Humans are not remarkable for their morphological fitness. Rather, their combination of highly adaptable behavior with unusually large brains, and corresponding cognitive ability, is responsible for hteir evolutionary success. Therefore, innovation in foraging techniques is one
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