Ecological Dominance and the final sprint in hominid evolution

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Abstract
In contrast to many other models of human evolution the "balance of power" theory of Alexander has a clear answer to the question why a runaway selection process for unique social and moral capacities occurred in our ancestry only and not in other species: "ecological dominance" is hypothesized to have diminished the effects of "extrinsic" forces of natural selection such that within-species, intergroup competition increased (Alexander, 1989). Alexander seems to be wrong, however, in his claim that already the common HUCHIBO (Humans, Chimps, Bonobo's)-ancestor has crossed the ecological dominance barrier. In this paper an adapted version of Alexander's model is presented and several different ways are proposed to make this adapted version testable. A preliminary survey of the available paleontological and paleoecological data suggests that there is some evidence of a less vulnerable position towards predators in early Homo and that there are clear signs related to a crossing of the ecological dominance barrier in Homo sapiens sapiens.
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Archival date: 2015-11-21
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