From Apes to Alphas

Many advances sculpted the human race to what we recognize today. The first major advance was the domestication of fire. Humans used fire for many purposes but the main use was for cooking. It allowed them to eat many foods that were once to difficult to digest in their natural state such as wheat. Overtime this caused human’s digestive tracks to shorten which in turn saved more energy to grow and strengthen their brains (Harari, pg.17). Another distinct advance was the creation of modern language. A main supported theory of how this began is the gossip theory (Harari, pg.25). We now think of gossip as a silly pastime but it may have been what caused our language to advance so quickly. It allowed humans to form complex social groups for cooperation and protection which were necessary for survival. The last and one of the biggest revolutions was the transition from hunter-gathers to farmers. But it was not without hardship. It took many centuries for farming to become a comfortable way to live and many of the first farmers were struck by malnutrition and a long list of injuries. But their persistence led to the world we know today.


All though it is unclear why homo sapiens beat out other forms of the human race in the evolutionary timeline, we do have an idea of how homo sapiens became so dominant in the coming years. One of the biggest factors is the belief in “imagined orders”. Imagined orders are a collection of beliefs that had no instinctual grounding. An example that Harari quotes is the Code of Hammurabi (Harari, pg.94). Harari argues that these beliefs provided order and a hierarchy system that led to massive groups of people cooperating together. I believe this is a very strong argument on why humans became so dominant. Earlier in the text Harari states that humans only have the ability to commutate effectively with about a group of 150 individuals. 150 people is not enough to become dominant. This is why imagine orders are so powerful, they allow for large numbers to work together as a single unit. And I believe this is true because we see it in our everyday life’s in the forms such as religion, government and social status.

2 thoughts on “From Apes to Alphas”

  1. Hi Connor,
    First off, I really enjoyed your title, and found it creative and very applicable to the question and Harari reading. With this being said though, you didn’t touch on the Cognitive or Agricultural revolutions in your response, so I’m wondering what impact you think they had on the evolution of Sapiens? I do agree that fire, farming, and language all impacted Sapiens Revolution, but I also think they may have been smaller parts of the Cognitive and Agricultural revolutions. Finally, I wanted to also point out that your second paragraph and the point on imagined orders was stated very well and you did a good job of articulating how it impacted the Sapiens dominance.

  2. I like that you led off with the domestication of fire and how it positively affected the human diet and brain function. Also, another point that you added in that I liked was the theory that was stated by Harari, as the “Gossip Theory”, which helped lead to the formation of larger groups of Homo sapiens. Without the formation of these larger groups, human population may have never had an increase of the size that it did and homo sapiens may never have dominated this world. This world would be a truly different place if we never colonized it and became the most dominate species this world has ever seen.

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