Chapter

Origins of Altruism and Cooperation

Volume 36 of the series Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects pp 19-40

Date:

The Influence of Predation on Primate and Early Human Evolution: Impetus for Cooperation

  • Donna HartAffiliated withDepartment of Anthropology, University of Missouri Email author 
  • , Robert W. SussmanAffiliated withDepartment of Anthropology, Washington University

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Abstract

There have been many attempts to reconstruct the behavior and ecology of our earliest ancestors. The most common theory and the one that is widely accepted today is the “Man the Hunter” hypothesis. Cultural anthropologist Laura Klein expresses the current situation well: “While anthropologists argue in scientific meetings and journals, the general public receives its information from more popular sources … In many of these forums, the lesson of Man the Hunter has become gospel” (2004:10). However, this theory of early hominin behavior is still widely debated within the anthropological community and, as we will show, the evidence to support it remains controversial.