What is the most unique evolutionary characteristic

Human history: Modern man occupies a unique evolutionary niche

Michigan. (est) What makes people unique? It is not just the invention of word-language or painting, but also the ability to adapt to a wide variety of environmental extremes. This thesis is presented by a German-American team in the journal "Nature Human Behavior". Unlike its ancestors and relatives in the animal kingdom, Homo sapiens is able to survive in deserts and rainforests, in the high mountains and on the coasts of Europe, North Africa and Asia.

General and specific

From an evolutionary point of view, the homo genus is a diverse group. A million years ago Homo erectus migrated as far as Spain, China and Indonesia. Analysis of fossils suggests that it lived in forests and grassland. Homo florensis is said to have inhabited the tropical rainforest, while the Neanderthals preferred northern latitudes 250,000 to 40,000 years ago. Homo sapiens, on the other hand, spread everywhere. 45,000 years ago he was in the process of colonizing areas in Europe, North Africa and Asia, the tropics of Asia and America, the plateaus of Tibet and the Andes.

"Genetic studies of fossils reveal a lot about the history of our species. However, they ignore the biocultural selection dictated by environmental factors," says first author Patrick Roberts. He sees a new ecological niche, the "specialized generalist". He can make use of many sources of raw materials and use different situations, but he can also operate a scarcity economy in barren areas. The ability to cooperate with non-relatives, maintain contact over long distances and ritual relationships that allow people to "reflectively" adapt to local conditions all contribute to the success of this approach.