Evolution of Community and Humanity from Primatological Viewpoints

  • Juichi Yamagiwa
Part of the Creative Economy book series (CRE)


This Chapter reflects human sociality against that of our primate forebears. Based on both extensive personal field research of gorillas, particularly in the Congo and Gabon, and analysis of the progression of understanding in the literature, the author takes us to the edge of primate-human evolution and shows us the difference. The argument demonstrates that society is not unique to humans, but whilst human sociality is deeply rooted in the common social features of the great apes, new social factors emerged, in particular as our humanoid ancestors moved into risky ecological niches outside tropical rain forests and needed to develop new communicative and shared productive capabilities. These included the development of language, food sharing, cooperative breeding, strong identity and community, and emotional traits such as empathy and sympathy. The Chapter concludes with an analysis of the consequence now for human sociality to survive the future.



This paper was prepared for the “Kyoto Manifesto” organized by Prof. Tadashi Yagi, Prof. Stephen Hill, and Mr. Stomu Yamashita. I would express my sincere thanks to the organizers for taking on the challenge of addressing worldwide problems related to community, humanity, and spirit. I also thank all of the trackers and villagers in and around Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Democratic Republic of Congo) and Moukalaba-Doudou National Park (Republic of Gabon) for their kind assistance and hospitality during my field work on gorillas.


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© The Editor(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kyoto UniversitySakyo, KyotoJapan

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