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How to stay ahead in the jungle

They were bigger than us, stronger, could run faster and you wouldn’t want to have met one on a dark night.
So why did our ancient cousin and competitor for domination of the prehistoric world, homo erectus, die out while we of the homo sapiens tribe inherited the earth?
Well it was nothing to do with being meek, though that might have been a wise tactic when faced with an angry erectus.
herectHomo erectus: A man who knows how to get to the
point but not the idea! Picture: Gerbil
And it wasn’t even because of the sapiens thing either, although we did have brains about a third bigger than homo E.
It all comes down to communication. Homo sapiens was much better not only at coming up with ideas, but crucially at passing them on to others.
As John Shea, Professor of palaeoanthropology at Stony Brook University, New York, pointed out, homo erectus didn’t have a brain with a highly developed capacity to control language and speech.
“One of the crucial elements in homo sapiens’s adaptations is that it combines complex planning, developed in the front of the brain, with language and the ability to spread new ideas from one individual to another,” said Prof Shea.
So if you have developed the better spear, bow and arrow or nuclear bomb, there’s no point keeping it to yourself if you want the tribe to survive.
Our skin-clad forebears got out there and communicated – and they cleaned up.
Funny how things don’t really change in 100,000 years. Because if you want to get ahead, be a great communicator.