CHAPTER 9

The Wider Tribe

Let’s face it, the only reason we’re still here may be because we learned to thrive together in small groups. Studies show the entire human race dwindled to about 2,000 people in total around 150,000 years ago. That’s all: imagine a tiny section of a football stadium. As a species, it’s thought we would have faced extinction had the harsh climactic conditions continued much longer. At that point, we split into small communities for the next 100,000 years before reuniting with separate genetic lineages and beginning our migratory journeys out of Africa. Small tribes give us the conditions to thrive and pros­per, even despite a harsh external environment. British anthropologist Robin Dunbar even goes as far as to say that ...

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