|Source images: Robert Patterson's Weblog; CatholicMom.com|
According to the US comparative psychologist Michael Tomasello, by the time the common ancestor of Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis had emerged sometime around 300,000 years ago, ancestral humans had already developed a sophisticated type of co‑operative intelligence. This much is evident from the archaeological record, which demonstrates the complex social living and interactional arrangements among ancestral humans. They probably had symbol use – which prefigures language – and the ability to engage in recursive thought (a consequence, on some accounts, of the slow emergence of an increasingly sophisticated symbolic grammar). Their new ecological situation would have led, inexorably, to changes in human behaviour. Tool-use would have been required, and co‑operative hunting, as well as new social arrangements – such as agreements to safeguard monogamous breeding privileges while males were away on hunts.
These new social pressures would have precipitated changes in brain organisation. In time, we would see a capacity for language. Language is, after all, the paradigmatic example of co‑operative behaviour: it requires conventions – norms that are agreed within a community – and it can be deployed to co‑ordinate all the additional complex behaviours that the new niche demanded.”
— Vyvyan Evans, aeon
“As we began to shy away from eating primarily fruit, leaves and nuts and began eating meat, our brains grew. We developed the capacity to use tools, so our need for large, sharp teeth and big grinders waned.
At the same time our gut shrank by 60%. A Chimp spends 6 hours a day chewing and digesting. We eat quickly leaving lots of time to invent new things and ways. […]
Only meat has this quality and concentration of protein. It is indeed ‘Brain Food.’
Meat made us human. It is not some rare thing at the top of the food pyramid but it is the base of the pyramid.”
— Robert Patterson’s Weblog