In the News (from Scientific American): “Human populations have faced bottlenecks over time that put them in peril. Evolutionary biologist Mark Pagel believes that humans overcame these forces by banding together in larger groups, which may have propelled their brain capacity to greater heights.
“In Wired for Culture, Pagel proposes that humans learn best through imitation. Aggregating into larger clusters allowed social learning to truly flourish, ultimately leading to the formation of societies, technology and culture.
“Humans are unique among other primates, however, in that they did more than simply pick up the latest spear technology by observing and mimicking their peers. As they developed more complex communication skills, they were able to adapt and pass on these tactics to the next generation.
“Yet this collaborative spirit did not extend to make humans altruistic, Pagel concludes. As a species, we join forces only with those whom we trust and whose actions we anticipate will be similar to our own. In fact, he proposes that thousands of different languages exist in the world because we are inclined to promote trust within our own social circles but confusion among outsiders. Language allowed us to pass along individual cultures as much as it segregated, and even protected, us from different ones.”
My Comment: That’s why today, because of the integrality of the world community, there is a need for a single language and culture. But in any case, unification led to evolutionary development, both quantitative and qualitative.