How homo sapiens took over the world
The not-so-surprising secret of our success
Have you ever wondered how we took over the planet?
About 100,000 years ago, there were at least six different species of human on Earth. Now there is just one – homo sapiens. And that species has managed to dominate and succeed in a way no other species has manged in all of history.
Because of our ability to cooperate and share knowledge.
Around 70,000 years ago something happened (we’re not sure what, a genetic mutation maybe) that allowed homo sapiens to develop complex language. This could be used to share much more detailed information than any other species of animal or human.
This ability to communicate effectively and in depth had three main benefits:
It meant that knowledge could be shared accurately and quickly. Humans learned from each other, everything from the best places to find food to passing on new skills that made life easier and safer.
It meant that humans were able to adapt quickly to changing circumstances by drawing on lots of different experiences and working together to find a solution.
It meant that humans were able to cooperate in much larger numbers than other animals, because they were able to agree on a shared understanding of the world and how it works (religion or, say, capitalism).
So learning, cooperating and working together is at the heart of what has made us successful as a species.
This is a really important fact to remember – both in our everyday lives and as a society. Certainly, many teams and workplaces could do with a reminder.
We do better when we draw on multiple views and experiences, and when we focus on achieving as a group rather than individuals.
If you’d like to have a think together about culture, communication and collaboration in your team or organisation, I’m offering a free, no obligation 45 minute insights/coaching call to the first five people to get in touch.
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