In geological terms, homo sapiens are new. As a species, we have only been around for around 200,.000 years or so. But we have come to dominate the planet. So here is a trillion dollar question. How did we do it?
The conventional wisdom is that it is due to our intelligence. In fact, neanderthals had bigger brains that we do. It seems that they were just as smart if not smarter. But neanderthals went extinct while we thrived and thrive still. So it is probably not just intelligence.
The answer is more likely that mankind is better at socializing between groups than other species. Homo sapiens, more than any other species, do exchanges between groups.
this is a point that Matt Ridley makes in his TED talk and it is critical for us to keep in mind. Our genius is in how we exchange – not how we think alone.