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ISBN-10: 3880851336

ISBN-13: 9783880851337

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In the specific context of human behavioral evolution, the scenario Pievani favors is that altruism and cooperativeness of the human kind had their origins in an earlier tendency toward reciprocity, a tendency that proved advantageous in early human groups exposed to the hazards of woodland environments. A succession of circumstances then followed in which this tendency became exaptively amplified in a series of stages. This scenario coincides well with what we know about the pattern of other behavioral acquisitions among our precursors, and it also fits comfortably with the fact that we still perceive echoes of our untidy origins in our dealings with each other and with the world around us.

23 24 D. W. Sussman A. ramidus noted: “We interpret the physiographical setting to have been a flat plain with little topography where scattered carcasses of medium and large mammals were ravaged by carnivores . . , 1994:332). (The full list of predators found in conjunction with A. 75-million-year-old hominin skull exhibiting punctures from sabertoothed cat fangs. 6 million years have been found in the den of an extinct hyena species. A 900,000-year-old member of the genus Homo from Olorgesailie, Kenya, shows carnivore bite marks on the browridge.

However, many results from behavioral, hormonal, and brain imaging studies offer a new perspective of primates and their proclivities for cooperation, sociality, and peace. For example, after 16-years research on the behavior and ecology of wild savanna baboons, Silk et al. conclude that social integration even enhances reproductive capabilities in female baboons: “Females who had more social contact with other adult group members and were more fully socially integrated into their groups were more likely than other females to rear infants successfully” (2003:1231).

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