Cooperation May Equal Survival

Kids Count

They lacked the ability to hunt the large carnivores of the period and instead became scavengers of the carcasses of these large predators. The fossil record reveals that while the skeletal remains have numerous carnivore teeth marks, so do the carcasses have marks from stone tools that were used to glean the remaining flesh form the animals.

Unlike jungle dwellers, who could independently gather fruits or nuts for themselves, these early humans had to work together. As they approached the remains of a carcass they had to insure that people were on the lookout for predators that might attack them while others removed the remaining meat from the bones that then would have been shared with everyone.

These behaviors resulted in a form of natural selections that favored cooperation. There is some evidence that humans that did not adapt these sharing behaviors may have been banished. Today researchers have shown that this evolutionary legacy of cooperation remains strong in humans, young children who are too young to have been taught cooperation have these behaviors.

A study in the journal, Nature, demonstrated that when three year old children obtained food through cooperative efforts they were much more likely to share the food than when achieved individually.

The second element of Tomasello’s theory holds that certain kinds of commerce are more in line with human evolution than others. Through language, cooperative food gathering and unique rituals humans developed a human interdependence not seen elsewhere.

This interdependence lead to cooperation beyond small scale cooperation to culture wide cooperative efforts that lead to greater solidarity. Corporations are the antithesis of these evolutionary lineages. Corporations impose a linear conformity that may, in time prove unworkable for the human race. More and more modern businesses around the world are run as cooperatives where a group of people set the economic and operational philosophy of the business.

Reach the writer at Hurlburt@wildblue.net

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