Kinder, Gentler Humans Built Modern Culture
Study finds link between lower testosterone, evolutionary jump
By Shelley Hazen, Newser User
Posted Aug 4, 2014 2:32 PM CDT
   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Maybe all mankind needed to become more civilized was a kinder, gentler touch, suggests a study out of the University of Utah and Duke University. The new research now links a drop in testosterone to our ancestors' sudden jump into civilized behavior about 50,000 years ago. This is when we started making art, bone and antler tools, projectile weapons, and fishing and birding equipment, as well as using fire, the Telegraph explains. In addition, "Humans are uniquely able to communicate complex thoughts and cooperate even with strangers," the study author says, and the research shows that "these traits are linked ... and were a driving force behind the development of complex culture," and also developed around the same time as the drop in testosterone levels.

He believes testosterone levels waned when we started living and working together and realized cooperation was the key to survival. By examining the skulls of 1,400 modern and ancient humans, he found that the heavy ridges and oblong skulls—features linked to higher testosterone—disappeared, and the human face became more feminine and rounded. These nicer, gentler humans were better able to put their newly-rounded heads together and make a giant leap in their evolution, the study suggests. "The key to our success is the ability to cooperate and get along and learn from one another," says the author. (Apparently, the male face also evolved to take a punch.)

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Showing 3 of 58 comments
Shaun
Aug 11, 2014 2:43 PM CDT
Modern human have always used fire. Homo Erectus one of our direct ancestors controlled fire. So at birth we would have been taught these skills from our predecessor.
Bill Sherman
Aug 8, 2014 12:34 PM CDT
uh, we started using fire way before 50k years.
Pragmatist
Aug 4, 2014 9:54 PM CDT
Like most every good thing in life... ... a moderate balance brings about the best (dare I say pragmatic) result