Thinking Big: How the Evolution of Social Life Shaped the Human Mind

Dunbar, Robin; Gamble, Clive; Gowlett, John

Published by Thames & Hudson, 2014
ISBN 10: 0500051801 / ISBN 13: 9780500051801
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A closer look at genealogy, incorporating how biological, anthropological, and technical factors can influence human lives

We are at a pivotal moment in understanding our remote ancestry and its implications for how we live today. The barriers to what we can know about our distant relatives have been falling as a result of scientific advance, such as decoding the genomes of humans and Neanderthals, and bringing together different perspectives to answer common questions. These collaborations have brought new knowledge and suggested fresh concepts to examine. The results have shaken the old certainties.

The results are profound; not just for the study of the past but for appreciating why we conduct our social lives in ways, and at scales, that are familiar to all of us. But such basic familiarity raises a dilemma. When surrounded by the myriad technical and cultural innovations that support our global, urbanized lifestyles we can lose sight of the small social worlds we actually inhabit and that can be traced deep into our ancestry. So why do we need art, religion, music, kinship, myths, and all the other facets of our over-active imaginations if the reality of our effective social worlds is set by a limit of some one hundred and fifty partners (Dunbar’s number) made of family, friends, and useful acquaintances? How could such a social community lead to a city the size of London or a country as large as China? Do we really carry our hominin past into our human present? It is these small worlds, and the link they allow to the study of the past that forms the central point in this book. 40 black-and-white illustrations

About the Author: Robin Dunbar is head of the Social and Evolutionary Neuroscience Research Group at the University of Oxford. He has published numerous books including Grooming Gossip and the Evolution of Language (2004), The Human Story (2005), How Many Friends Does One Person Need?: Dunbar’s Number and Other Evolutionary Quirks (2011), The Science of Love (2012) and The Science of Love and Betrayal (2013).

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Title: Thinking Big: How the Evolution of Social ...
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Publication Date: 2014
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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Book Description Thames Hudson Ltd, United Kingdom, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. When and how did the brains of our hominin ancestors become human minds? When and why did our capacity for language or art, music and dance evolve? It is the contention of this pathbreaking and provocative book that it was the need for early humans to live in ever-larger social groups, and to maintain social relations over ever-greater distances the ability to think big that drove the enlargement of the human brain and the development of the human mind. This social brain hypothesis, put forward by evolutionary psychologists such as Robin Dunbar, one of the authors of this book, can be tested against archaeological and fossil evidence, as archaeologists Clive Gamble and John Gowlett show in the second part of Thinking Big. Along the way, the three authors touch on subjects as diverse and diverting as the switch from finger-tip grooming to vocal grooming or the crucial importance of making fire for the lengthening of the social day. Ultimately, the social worlds we inhabit today can be traced back to our Stone Age ancestors. Bookseller Inventory # AA29780500051801

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Book Description Thames Hudson Ltd, United Kingdom, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. When and how did the brains of our hominin ancestors become human minds? When and why did our capacity for language or art, music and dance evolve? It is the contention of this pathbreaking and provocative book that it was the need for early humans to live in ever-larger social groups, and to maintain social relations over ever-greater distances the ability to think big that drove the enlargement of the human brain and the development of the human mind. This social brain hypothesis, put forward by evolutionary psychologists such as Robin Dunbar, one of the authors of this book, can be tested against archaeological and fossil evidence, as archaeologists Clive Gamble and John Gowlett show in the second part of Thinking Big. Along the way, the three authors touch on subjects as diverse and diverting as the switch from finger-tip grooming to vocal grooming or the crucial importance of making fire for the lengthening of the social day. Ultimately, the social worlds we inhabit today can be traced back to our Stone Age ancestors. Bookseller Inventory # AA29780500051801

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Book Description Thames & Hudson. Book Condition: New. When and how did the brains of our hominin ancestors become human minds? When and why did our capacity for language or art, music and dance evolve? This book deals with these questions. Num Pages: 224 pages, 40 illustrations. BIC Classification: HD; JFFP; PSAJ. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 243 x 157 x 24. Weight in Grams: 682. . 2014. 1st Edition. Hardcover. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780500051801

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