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How Many Friends Does One Person Need? Dunbar's Number and Other Evolutionary Quirks by Robin Dunbar

How Many Friends Does One Person Need? Dunbar's Number and Other Evolutionary Quirks


How Many Friends Does One Person Need? Dunbar's Number and Other Evolutionary Quirks by Robin Dunbar

We are the product of our evolutionary history and this history colours our everyday lives - from why we kiss to how religious we are. In How Many Friends Does One Person Need? Robin Dunbar explains how the distant past underpins our current behaviour, through the groundbreaking experiments that have changed the thinking of evolutionary biologists forever. He explains phenomena such as why 'Dunbar's Number' (150) is the maximum number of acquaintances you can have, why all babies are born premature and the science behind lonely hearts columns. Stimulating, provocative and highly enjoyable, this fascinating book is essential for understanding why humans behave as they do - what it is to be human.

About the Author

Robin Dunbar is currently Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at Oxford University and a Fellow of Magdalen College. His principal research interest is the evolution of sociality. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1998. His books include The Trouble with Science, 'an eloquent riposte to the anti-science lobby' (Sunday Times), and Grooming, Gossip and the Evolution of Language. The Human Story was described as 'fizzing with recent research and new theories' in the Sunday Times and 'punchy and provocative' by the New Scientist. How Many Friends Does One Person Need?: Dunbar's Number and Other Evolutionary Quirks was published in 2010.

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd February 2011


Robin Dunbar

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Faber & Faber


320 pages


Popular science
Popular psychology



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