The Social Conquest of Earth

Edward O Wilson

My review 2018-08-16

A very interesting read, to be recommended to anyone interested in the interaction of culture, sociality and biology. Homo sapiens is an intensely social animal, and this can only be explained by group selection based on a number of preselected traits of the predecessors, according to Wilson. Culture is the layered on top of this, in its turn affecting evolution and therefore also the genetics of humans, making us unique.

Wilson contends that the previously accepted theory of kin selection cannot explain the evolution of sociality in general. In the case of Homo sapiens and its predecessors, multi-level selection involving group selection must be invoked. In my mind the author makes his case convincingly.

The book could have used a tougher editor. It contains some redundant reiteration of arguments and positions. The writing is good and to the point. References are relegated to a section at the back, relieving the text from footnotes and numbered references.