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Grooming, gossip and the evolution of language

Author: R I M Dunbar
Publisher: London : Faber and Faber, 1996.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
"Apes and monkeys differ from other animals in the intensity of their social relationships, in the amount of time they spend grooming one another. Not just a matter of hygiene, as you might think, grooming is really all about cementing bonds, making friends and influencing your fellow primate." "Early humans, in their characteristic large groups of 150 or so, would have had to spend almost half their time in mutual  Read more...
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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: R I M Dunbar
ISBN: 0571173969 9780571173969
OCLC Number: 34546743
Description: 230 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Responsibility: Robin Dunbar.

Abstract:

Disputing assumptions to the contrary, this book argues that language evolved among women, and that, although men are just as likely to natter as women, women gossip more about other people, thus  Read more...

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    schema:reviewBody ""Apes and monkeys differ from other animals in the intensity of their social relationships, in the amount of time they spend grooming one another. Not just a matter of hygiene, as you might think, grooming is really all about cementing bonds, making friends and influencing your fellow primate." "Early humans, in their characteristic large groups of 150 or so, would have had to spend almost half their time in mutual grooming, an impossible burden. Instead, Professor Robin Dunbar argues, they evolved a more efficient mechanism: language. It seems there is nothing idle about idle chatter. Having a good gossip ensures that a dynamic group - of hunter-gatherers, soldiers, workmates - remains cohesive." "Men and women 'gossip' equally, but men tend to talk about themselves, while women talk more about other people, working to strengthen the female-female relationships that underpin both human and primate societies. Until now, most anthropologists have assumed that language developed in male-male relationships, during activities such as hunting. Dunbar's original and highly intriguing research suggests that, to the contrary, language evolved among women."--BOOK JACKET." ;
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