Five Transitions in Evolutionary History

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Zaid Hassan:

"from evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar at the University of Oxford’s Social and Evolutionary Neuroscience Research Group. Dunbar, like Laloux, argues that during the course of human history we have gone through “five transitions.”

The first transition, according to Dunbar, occurred some 2 million years ago, the Australopithecines, second the rise of early homo 1.8 million years ago, the third around 500,000 years ago saw archaic humans, the fourth around 200,000 years ago saw the rise of modern humans. The fifth transition is the Neolithic Age some 12,000 years ago. At the individual level our biology is unchanged in the last 100,000 years (the time-scale Laloux’s evolutionary history covers) and there is no difference between you or me and one of our ancestors one hundred thousand years down the line.

The basis of Dunbar’s thesis are four biological shifts, and one behavioural change on evolutionary time-scales, that is over millions of years not hundreds of thousands. All of Dunbar’s significant evolutionary shifts occurred before the 50,000-100,000-year timeline of history that the book operates in." (