Collective Learning: So Easy, Even A Caveman Could Do It

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Cavemen puzzled by a mobile phone  ( Blue Planet Studio/Adobe Stock)

Collective Learning: So Easy, Even A Caveman Could Do It

Ever since Darwin brought up the fact that the human race had apes as distant ancestors, modern humans have been uneasy and a little defensive. They mocked the simian nature of Australopithecus,  jeered at the brow-ridges and stocky frame of the Neanderthals and the less said about Homo erectus around an adolescent boy, the better. As far as relatives go, these ‘apemen’ are the embarrassing cousins modern humans would rather not acknowledge.

However, it is very wrong to write off these forebears as dull brutes who lived short and squalid lives, even though that is how they have been characterized for many years. More recently, this idea has been rejected by some modern scholars who tend to view hunter-gatherer lifestyles as idyllic, with loads of free time, and an excellent diet. Both extremes miss the mark: These ancestors were neither mindless brutes nor noble savages. They were a little of both. Most of all, they were trailblazers who began the process of collective learning.

They were not dumb brutes, at least not all of them (Agustin/ Adobe Stock)

They were not dumb brutes, at least not all of them (Agustin/ Adobe Stock)


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