Lone Survivors: Social Brain Hypothesis, By Chris Stringer
This paper discusses Social Brain Hypothesis (SBH) by referring to the book “Lone Survivors How we came to be the only humans on Earth” by Chris Stringer and Evolution in the Social Brain by R. I. M. Dunbar and Susanne Shultz. Primates have a large brain to body size ratio as compared to their non-primate counterparts. Scientists have tried to explain this trait using various ecological, evolutionary, sexual context. On the other hand, the SBH attributes this primate characteristic to social concepts like mating, bi-paternal relationships, group existence etc. I found this interesting because SBH really looks into how our brain developed in a comprehensive way by looking at how primates relate to each other.
Summary of Stringer’s …show more content…
He then develops on this idea and extrapolates how modern hunter-gatherers would have depended heavily on social relations. The author then posits that a large size of neocortex and thus the brain allows primates to easily find food in a forest environment and also allows enhanced comprehension and cohesion. He also explains how primates have the ability to interpret the actions of others (Machiavellian intelligence). He says that this skill must have allowed our ancestors to work effectively in groups, thus allowing efficient gathering of food.
Outside source and its relation to the book
The article that this paper refers to was published in Science magazine. It focuses on the complex relationships that primates form. The article and the book share similar examples of chimps, birds, squirrels, size of neocortex etc. Both texts explain and agree with the Social Brain hypothesis and do not draw any conclusions on the validity of SBH. The article tries to prove the SBH by explaining brain development in birds and pair bonds in primates. Finally, the article turns to Microneurobiology to relate hormones to social bonding.
Summary of the