Human evolution

Robin Dunbar

Why I looked at this book

Robin Dunbar is well known for the 'Dunbar number', that is the idea that the number of people fully in our social circle is limited to around 150 by the capacity of our brains and that this was a significant factor in the evolution of larger brains. I thought it would be interesting to see his thoughts on human evolution in more detail, which I am expecting this book to tell me. I'm also interested to see how his ideas fit in with other ideas of what was important in human evolution.

First impressions

Dunbar points out importance of sociality in human evolution, so that our development of music, say, should be up there with the development of tools. He also proposes a 'time budget' approach to the subject, investigating how each change in early human behaviour influenced the way they split up their time. The book dives straight into the topic in hand, where other books might begin more gently. This is fine, especially in a short book like this, but I'm slightly worried that while the introduction is accessible to a general readership, when the book gets on to more details it might be less so. I'll have to see.
Coming soon:
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