Humans accumulate knowledge over generations, building vast bodies of expertise—a quality that scientists have long suggested helps make humanity unique. In order to explore how such “cumulative culture” arose, anthropologists examined the way in which hunter-gatherers known as the BaYaka Pygmies, living in the Republic of Congo, exchange information among large pools of people. Their findings, reported in the journal Current Biology on September 8, suggest that complex social structures of hunter-gatherers may have helped cumulative culture evolve.
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