Re: LBI Broods and Social Sharing

John Waters (
6 Oct 1996 15:18:55 GMT

A R Millard <> wrote in article
> John Waters ( wrote:
> : If it is any help, it can be shown that the advent of social
> : sharing would lead to a substantial increase in the rate of
> : evolution. Furthermore, it can be demonstrated that the LBI
> : multi-age brood would lead directly to the evolution of
> : speech and language. Any ideas anyone?
> Do you mean that they necessarily lead to speech and language
or that the
> enable its development. Evidence for language occurs later
than the
> evidence for social sharing (excepting the latest dates from
> until we see the full evidence in Antiquity).
> So I haven't whittled down the timing much but it is clearly
between A.
> afarensis and H. erectus.
> Andrew Millard
Thank you Andrew.

Hmmm. So the timing is somewhere between A. afarensis and H.
erectus. And the place? Somewhere in Africa?

I perceive that the problem is finding the evidence.

The LBI broods led to three things. Two of these would be
immediate, namely: social sharing and the change of response
seeker characteristic. The evolution of S & L would be a long
term development involving genetic mutation and selection.

The development of speech and language would be quite automatic.
The evolutionary process involved is strictly mainstream. S & L
is caused directly by the rearing of a LBI brood. Most of the S
& L development would be neurophysiological. The laryngeal
developments in H. archaic and H. neanderthal must be regarded
fortuitous accidents. (Unless you are a Registered Engineer --
in which case they are evidence of the great designer).

Do you think it would be possible to relate the speech and
language centres in the brain today with morphological
developments in H. erectus or H. habilis?

I didn€t mention the change of response seeker characteristic in
my article. Perhaps I should have done. It could provide
important indirect evidence. I won€t bore you with details on
the process involved, but this development led to a change in
hominid group behaviour.

In this context, you will be aware that the social Apes, (i.e.
Gorillas and Chimpanzees), cluster together from time to time in
large social gatherings. When they do so, they sit down in a
random manner, facing various different directions.

By contrast, when humans sit in a small group, they invariably
sit in a circle facing each other. Alternatively, you find a
single individual, or a small group, facing another larger
group. Performers and audiences.

This change started with the LBI broods. So it is possible that
there may be discernible evidence of the new behavioural trait.
The remains of a fire in the centre of a cave might not be
conclusive proof. But if there was a circle of discarded
rubbish, bones and shells etc., this could help to determine
the time and place of the LBI
brood development.

Is there any such evidence in the H. erectus period? Would
early toolmaking sites indicate the prevalent group behaviour?