Two steps to primate social living | Science News

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Two steps to primate social living

Shifts 52 million and 16 million years ago led to group structures seen today

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4:21pm, November 9, 2011

Primates may have evolved from living the lonely life to forming complex societies in two major steps, a new study of more than 200 species suggests. Understanding when and why the ancestors of Homo sapiens and its closest cousins adopted different social structures could help reveal more about the evolution of human society.

About 52 million years ago, primates — an order of animals that includes, among others, humans and great apes — might have stopped foraging alone and banded together in large, loosely formed, same-sex groups to search for food, anthropologist Susanne Shultz of the University of Oxford and colleagues report in the Nov. 10

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