Could simple anger have taught people to cooperate?

While re­search­ers don’t agree on how hu­mans first de­vel­oped the ex­cep­tion­al lev­el of coop­era­t­ion they show in to­day’s so­ci­eties, a few bas­ic ideas are of­ten ban­died about the sci­en­tif­ic lit­er­a­ture.
A new study is chal­leng­ing one of the lead­ing the­o­ries, though, to re­place it with a sim­pler no­tion: hu­mans learn­ed to coop­erate be­cause they did­n’t want to make the neigh­bors an­gry.
The re­search forms a coun­ter­point to a grow­ing stack of stud­ies ar­gu­ing that police-like be­hav­iors play lead­ing roles in the de­vel­op­ment of coop­era­t­ion, by help­ing to en­force stan­dards of con­duct.
How coop­era­t­ion became com­mon in any so­cial spe­cies has long been a ma­jor ques­tion mark. Ev­o­lu­tion­ary the­o­ry, the main tool biologists use to ex­plain such things, fails to di­rectly ex­plain this one, and on the sur­face in fact seems to in­di­cate it could not happen.  Yet all sorts of crea­tures coop­erate—and hu­mans, sci­en­tists say, are the only ones who coop­erate in large groups with non-kin and strangers.

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