“Social behavior among primates — including humans — has a substantial genetic basis, a team of scientists has concluded from a new survey of social structure across the primate family tree.
“The scientists, at the University of Oxford in England, looked at the evolutionary family tree of 217 primate species whose social organization is known….
“[T]he new survey emphasizes the major role of genetics in shaping sociality. Being rooted in genetics, social structure is hard to change, and a species has to operate with whatever social structure it inherits.
“If social behavior were mostly shaped by ecology, then related species living in different environments should display a variety of social structures. But the Oxford biologists — Susanne Shultz, Christopher Opie and Quentin Atkinson — found the opposite was true: Primate species tended to have the same social structure as their close relatives, regardless of how and where they live….
“The Oxford survey confirms that the structure of human society, too, is likely to have a genetic basis, since humans are in the primate family, said Bernard Chapais, an expert on human social evolution at the University of Montreal.
“‘Evolutionary change in any particular lineage is highly constrained by the lineage’s phylogenetic history,’ Dr. Chapais said, referring to the evolutionary family tree. ‘This reasoning applies to all species, including ours.'”
oh my lord! pass me the smelling salts — i do declare, i think i’m gonna faint!
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