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Bigger groups mean complex cultures

Two studies show that larger groups of people are better at maintaining and improving cultural knowledge.

Excerpt: Humanity’s success depends on the ability of humans to copy, and build on, the works of their predecessors.

Response: “You do not have permission to post on this thread”

My comment: Of course I don’t have permission to post on that thread, or anything else published in “Nature.”  If you look at their list of Related articles and links, you’ll see why. Social evolution: The ritual animal; How geography shapes cultural diversity; Human evolution: Cultural roots; Darwin 200: Human nature: the remix; Behavioural Science: Secret signals; Human evolution: Details of being human. If not for the cultural evolution touted in “Nature,” others might already have learned the truth about human nature. Here’s the comment that I do not have permission to post.


The success of animals is nutrient-dependent. This is indicated by the picture with the fishing nets. The nutrients from the ecological niche are metabolized to species-specific chemical signals called pheromones that control social niche construction and the physiology of reproduction. Ecological and social niche construction facilitate sexual reproduction among conspecifics with the advent of sexual reproduction in unicellular yeasts.

The effects of food odors and pheromones on survival in every species can be viewed across an evolutionary continuum that clearly links the epigenetic ‘landscape’ to the physical landscape of DNA in the organized genomes of species from microbes to man. Therefore, humanity’s success is nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled.

Attributing our success to culture “…the ability of humans to copy, and build on, the works of their predecessors…” ignores the biological basis of our success. I would not comment on that fact if “Nature” was largely a venue for publications about results from social science studies. However, this article includes the comment: “And things that make us social are going to make us seem smarter.”

The epigenetic effects of social odors on the gonadotropin releasing hormone neuronal system of vertebrates enabled us to achieve a degree of nutrient-dependent brain development accompanied by eusociality. Our social behavior is exemplified in the honeybee model organism. That model organism and many other model organisms show that eusocial behavior is clearly nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled via conserved molecular mechanisms that link microbes to insects and mammals like us — with or without culture.

Author: James Kohl

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