Why is childbirth so painful? What happened in the evolution of humans to make it as arduous as it is? Childbirth is painful because of our relatively narrow hips and the relatively large brains of infants. Although we’re not sure why humans evolved such large brains, we do know that narrow hips had some evolutionary advantages. We’ll cover how humans evolved the bodies they did and why childbirth is so painful.
Is there Neanderthal DNA in modern humans? How much? How did it get there? Some people have up to 4% Neanderthal DNA. This is because early Homo sapiens, our species, interbred with Neanderthals, a different human species. Learn the difference between Neanderthals and early Homo sapiens and how researchers made the surprising discovery that there’s Neanderthal DNA in some modern humans.
What are some examples of cultural evolution in humans? How do these examples shed light on our values and assumptions today? We’ll cover five examples of cultural evolution in humans and look at how our cultural assumptions are formed rather than innate.
What were the different types of human species? How were these early human species similar, and how did they differ? The different types of human species were Homo soloensis, Homo floresiensis, Homo denisova, Homo rudolfensis, Homo neanderthalensis, Home erectus, Homo ergaster, and Homo sapiens. Of these eight human species, only one survived: Homo sapiens, us. We’ll cover the different human species and what they had in common.
How did early humans communicate with each other? What features of Homo sapiens language made this species successful? Early humans communicated through complex language, gossip, and shared fictions. These advancements in language allowed our species to dominate the animal kingdom, and the later invention of writing allowed people to leave a written legacy. We’ll cover why linguistic advancements such as gossip were such an important form of communication for early humans, and we’ll look at how writing was invented.
What were our ancestors the early Homo sapiens like? How did they live? How did they communicate? What did they eat? How did they shape our lives today? We don’t know much about the early Homo sapiens, but we do know that they were cooperative, nomadic, and extremely knowledgeable. Early Homo sapiens may be the most knowledgeable humans in the history of mankind. We’ll cover how early Homo sapiens lived and how they came to dominate other animals.
We’ve only been working in offices and, before that, as farmers and herders, for the last 12,000 years. For hundreds of thousands of years before that, the majority of our species’ history, we lived in hunter-gatherer societies. Hunter-gatherer societies were the predominant form of societies for early humans. We don’t know much about these societies, but we do know that hunter-gatherers were probably some of the most skilled and informed humans in history. We’ll cover the nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle and evidence of forager belief systems.
What caused the Agricultural Revolution? How did farming come to dominate the modern era? The Agricultural Revolution was probably caused inadvertently by the spread of wheat. Early Sapiens took advantage of the prospering of wheat to set down roots and abandon their nomadic lifestyles. We’ll cover the causes of the Agricultural Revolution and how the “revolution” happened gradually.
What was the relationship between Homo sapiens and Neanderthals like? Did they get along? Did they mate? Did they go to war? Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals had a complex relationship. They likely both interbred and fought wars with each other. Although Neanderthals were stronger and had bigger brains, Homo sapiens became the dominant human species. We’ll cover how Homo sapiens came to dominate the animal kingdom and why the Neanderthals died out.
In Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari uses concepts from physics, chemistry, biology, and history to tell the story of us, Homo sapiens history. Homo Sapiens history is punctuated by four major revolutions: The Cognitive Revolution, the Agricultural Revolution, the Scientific Revolution, and the Industrial Revolution. Each revolution ushered in a new era of innovation (and, often, suffering) for humans. In this brief history of Homo sapiens, we’ll look at each revolution and how it dramatically redirected the course of the history of Sapiens.