How humans evolved to explore

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17 Responses to “How humans evolved to explore”

  1. welcomeabored says:

    My theory has been that our restlessness came of trying to get the hell away from each other.  ‘I vant to be alone’.

    Oh… and Happy Holidays, ya’ll.

    • That’s pretty close to my hypothesis, once I noticed that anatomically modern humans spread across the globe as fast as they could walk. That h. sap. saps. can’t stand each other. That as soon as you get about a dozen families in one place, half of them can no longer stand the other half and have to leave to get away from them.

      • wysinwyg says:

         Even the humble Australopithecines colonized all of Eurasia about as fast as they could walk.  I’m not sure there’s anything special about homo sapiens here.

      • welcomeabored says:

        I think there is a small percentage of us born to wander, who must constantly test themselves physically and mentally, and it often coincides with a detachment or apathy toward people, or an outright distrust or dislike for their fellow man.   

        Most successful explorers, whether they acknowledge the contributions of others, are almost always ‘team players’.  How are these same histories of famous wanderers written of in the history books of the East?  It’s we in the West who applaude the seeming individualists.

      • Seasonal movement is a factor as well I think. Many groups of Aboriginal people migrate hundreds of kilometres from season to season. Once you do that it makes sense to pick a different direction from time to time. Either because you want to see what is there or because natural barriers make your normal route unusable.

      • curgoth says:

        Well, and wandering off to find your own place is just *easier* than starting a war. Especially when you’re a hunter-gatherer.

  2. SomeGuyNamedMark says:

    I don’t think it is specifically exploring that is the key but people have a built in curiosity and need for stimulation.  This encourages people to seek out new sources of food, try new things, seek better environments, etc.  Obviously this has succeeded more than it has failed since we are thriving today.

    The downside to this is that we become bored easily, we get used to things quickly and accept them (e.g. crappy jobs), we are prone to addictive behaviors, etc.

  3. peregrinus says:

    ‘Why?  Don’t you know?!  The chicks are gorgeous, the food’s good and the living’s easy!’

  4. peregrinus says:

    ‘Why?  Don’t you know?!  He’s been a pain in the ass for years, won’t lift a finger, and to be frank, I could do with the break!’

  5. Robert says:

    Erik the Red was exiled from Iceland for three years for killing some people. In his exile, he went and explored a land covered in crappy soil and ice, and called it Greenland to convince gullible Norsemen to settle there.

    So, being an ass. Don’t neglect “being an ass” as a reason to go exploring.

  6. dave3 says:

    Humans are the original “invasive species”.

  7. Nagurski says:

    “Other animals don’t do this.” Okay, sure, if you say so. 

  8. Gnatcatcher says:

    What differentiates h. spaiens from other homo species is that we went places we couldn’t walk, but also to places we couldn’t even see, sailing to lands beyond the visible horizon, beyond the knowable.

  9. Chris says:

    This just gives more evidence to the idea that homo sapiens are the most advanced virus on planet earth.

  10. William says:

    Hmm, well, considering that every “explorer” within written history “discovered” other people in the lands they were “exploring” it’s a bit of a moot concept.  As for Neanderthals not exploring, then why do we continue finding new evidence of them in various places?  Same with any other hominid ancestors.  In almost all cases of large migrations in history, the reason was that “new” people invaded and pushed the “old peoples” out.  So…there’s that.

    • chenille says:

      I like penguins, but it still seems a little generous to call them people. What you’re saying is more true about settlers than explorers.

  11. For what it is worth I think our distant ancestors explored their planet much earlier than is shown in the archaeological record. A single motivated person could have seen the whole planet 200000 years ago. I think it is unlikely that nobody gave it a go.

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