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Networking with like-minded professionals isn’t just good for your career, it’s an essential survival tool. Creating and maintaining social relationships is perhaps the distinguishing feature of human intelligence, say contemporary archeologists. And it’s this feature that allowed humans to prosper while other primates, like Neanderthals, went extinct under taxing climate conditions. Modern humans, however, were able to survive by establishing larger social networks, utilizing the resources of communities that lived further afield. 

What’s the Big Idea?

This new understanding of the importance of human cognition replaces the standard view that tool creation drove modern humans’ evolutionary advantage. Thanks to our larger brain size, other social events like singing and dancing emerged, creating bonds that held communities together. As any adult can tell you, navigating social networks requires a certain adroitness—this appears to be a capacity unique to modern humans, capable of maintaining 150 relationships among friends and family. Chimps, on the other hand, have a cognitive limit of about 50 relationships, reducing by two-thirds the pool of resources available to them. 

Read more at New Scientist

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