Look around and it’s impossible to miss the importance of social interactions to human society. They form the basis of our families, our governments, and even our global economy. But how did we become social in the first place? Researchers have long believed that it was a gradual process, evolving from couples to clans to larger communities. A new analysis, however, indicates that primate societies expanded in a burst, most likely because there was safety in numbers.
It’s a controversial idea, admits anthropologist and study author Susanne Shultz of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. “We’re likely going to cause a bit of trouble.”