Whoops…How We Accidentally Took Over the Planet

The Cognitive Revolution was the time in which homo sapiens began to learn how to use things like rocks in order to make tools, and fire to cause controlled burns in order to find more food. The homo sapiens brain became larger, forcing upon them many physical problems, like back pain and neck soreness. Eventually, the “tree of knowledge” mutation allowed Sapiens to develop new technology and ways of communicating. The Agricultural Revolution came when homo sapiens started to learn how to domesticate animals and plants- or the plants domesticated them. The homo sapiens began to plant wheat and locate themselves in a permanent village. I think the Agricultural Revolution had a HUGE effect on the development of human civilizations. Not only did this revolution force sapiens to seek out permanent homes, it also caused this crazy cycle of a sort of instability, and the sapiens could not figure out why. In the years in which the harvest was good, more children would be born, leaving more mouths to feed, so they would have to plant more or suffer from malnutrition. The cycle only continued, leaving many sapiens starving or malnourished. The wheat that came with the Agricultural Revolution forced sapiens to stay put, and encouraged that need for more, that we still struggle with to this day. The Cognitive Revolution affected the development of human civilization because it was at this time that Homo Sapiens became the only species left on the face of the earth, and “… ever since the cognitive revolution, Sapiens have been living in a dual reality.” (Harari Pg. 32)

Harari suggests that Homo Sapiens became dominant for several reasons. He told readers about the Interbreeding Theory in which Sapiens and Neanderthals interbred, and he talked about the Replacement theory in which Sapiens and Neanderthals could not produce fertile children and genocide may have been involved. Harari also mentions that “Sapiens were more proficient hunters and gatherers- thanks to better technology and superior social skills- so they multiplied and spread.” (Harari pg. 17) This would have left the neanderthals with less and less food, allowing their population to dwindle. It is hard to say why Homo Sapiens became the most dominant, but I found Harari’s argument about Sapiens being better hunter-gatherers to be persuasive. That argument makes sense and isn’t as depressing as the thought that our ancestors killed every other species. I think it is suspicious that wherever the Homo Sapiens went, the native inhabitants were gone shortly after. I think Harari’s argument about language is the most persuasive argument, and probably the reason Homo Sapiens became dominant. Due to the “Tree of Knowledge” mutation, our language was much more developed than any other, and we had endless possibilities and combinations of things to say. Harari says “ …our language is amazingly supple. We can connect a limited number of sounds and signs to produce an infinite number of sentences, each with a distinct meaning.” (Harari Pg. 22) It is crazy to think that our knowledge was a mutation…but at last, it was.

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