| The Survival of the Friendliest

Brian Hare

A powerful new theory of human nature suggests that our secret to success as a species is our unique friendliness.

For most of the approximately 300,000 years that Homo sapiens have existed, we have shared the planet with at least four other types of humans. All of these were smart, strong, and inventive. But around 50,000 years ago, Homo sapiens made a cognitive leap that gave us an edge over other species. What happened?

Since Charles Darwin wrote about “evolutionary fitness,” the idea of fitness has been confused with physical strength, tactical brilliance, and aggression. In fact, what made us evolutionarily fit was a remarkable kind of friendliness, a virtuosic ability to coordinate and communicate with others that allowed us to achieve all the cultural and technical marvels in human history.


We are based at University College London but for the moment, all our talks are ZOOM webinars.

This class is part of the syllabus:

Autumn 2020: Introducing Human Origins