- Title Pages
- Notes on Contributors
- 1 The Social Brain and the Distributed Mind
- 2 Technologies of Séparation and the Evolution of Social Extension
- 3 Herto Brains and Minds: Behaviour of Early <i>Homo sapiens</i> from the Middle Awash
- 4 Social Networks and Social Complexity in Female-bonded Primates
- 5 Human Social Evolution: A Comparison of Hunter-gatherer and Chimpanzee Social Organization
- 6 Constraints on Social Networks
- 7 Social Networks and Community in the Viking Age
- 8 Deacon's Dilemma: The Problem of Pair-bonding in Human Evolution
- 9 The Evolution of Altruism via Social Addiction
- 10 From Experiential-based to Relational-based Forms of Social Organization: A Major Transition in the Evolution of <i>Homo sapiens</i>
- 11 Networks and the Evolution of Socio-material Differentiation
- 12 When Individuals Do Not Stop at the Skin
- 13 Cliques, Coalitions, Comrades and Colleagues: Sources of Cohesion in Groups
- 14 The Socio-religious Brain: A Developmental Model
- 15 Some Functions of Collective Forgetting
- 16 What is Cognition? Extended Cognition and the Criterion of the Cognitive
- 17 Firing Up the Social Brain
- 18 A Technological Fix for ‘Dunbar's Dilemma’?
- 19 The Archaeology of Group Size
- 20 Fragmenting Hominins and the Presencing of Early Palaeolithic Social Worlds
- 21 Small Worlds, Material Culture and Ancient Near Eastern Social Networks
- 22 Excavating the Prehistoric Mind: The Brain as a Cultural Artefact and Material Culture as Biological Extension
Firing Up the Social Brain
Firing Up the Social Brain
- (p.340) (p.341) 17 Firing Up the Social Brain
- Social Brain, Distributed Mind
- British Academy
The mastery of fire is a great human achievement which has helped shape our species. This chapter addresses the wider importance of fire, arguing that it is part of a fundamental motor of human evolution, deeply tied into our biology as well as economy and technology, and indeed a motor of the social brain. It seems likely that fire was involved in this nexus from a very early period, probably back to the time of increases in human brain size in the early Pleistocene, and indeed that it may have been a necessity for the subsequent physical evolutionary and social developments in Homo. Fire may be associated so strongly with imagery, imagination and symbolism in the modern world as a result of its primary role in effecting transformation of materials, and acting to link various strands of material culture.
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