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Charlotte Talks: Think Only The Strong Survive? Duke Scientist Says Survival Is For The Friendliest

Flickr / bekassine https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020

Here's a novel idea: How about we just act nicer to each other? Duke University anthropologist Brian Hare says friendliness is what has kept humans around for hundreds of thousands of years.

Charles Darwin's theory of "survival of the fittest," Hare says, is often confused for being the strongest, toughest on the block. Rather, it’s being able to cooperate with others that allowed us as a species to thrive and advance while other human species vanished.

So why is that the friendliest of human species can sometimes be so inhumane to its own kind?

Hare has spent years examining canine behavior, and says the same trait – friendliness – is the reason man’s best friend is still around, too. The same goes for bonobos. So perhaps there's something humans can learn from them?


Brian Hare, Duke University professor of evolutionary anthropology, co-author of “Survival of the Friendliest: Understanding Our Origins and Rediscovering Our Common Humanity” (@bharedogguy)

A veteran of Charlotte radio news, Chris joined the "Charlotte Talks" staff in January 2016, but has been listening to WFAE since discovering the station as a high schooler.