Scientific Reports
Published September 27, 2018 09:00 EDT (News release from Nature Research Press)
Caring for individuals with diseases may have enabled prehistoric humans to prevent disease transmission as social networks became more complex and the threat from socially transmitted diseases increased. Researchers used computer modelling to simulate evolution of care-giving in four different social systems for early Homo habilis, H. erectus, H. heidelbergensis, H. neandertalensis, and H. sapiens. A kin-based system in which parents, siblings, cousins and other family members provided care was the most likely to facilitate the evolution of care-giving in the human lineage.
Canadian co-authors: Tyler Bonnell, University of Lethbridge –; Colin Chapman, McGill University –