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For hominins, these external issues became relatively less important, the theory goes, while their ability to form coalitions, to have empathy and to behave in such a way as to win friendships from others became key to their survival.[10 Things That Make Humans Special] In this heavily social context, it became very important to be smarter than the competition. Unfortunately, scientists aren't so sure that an actual intelligent alien would be so benign.
Charles Darwin suggested that perhaps males developed cleverness to attract females, much as a male peacock developed showy tail feathers to prove to potential mates that he could strut his stuff. could evolve a more efficient, yet just as clever, organ.
So perhaps intelligent aliens might be subject to alien parasites.
Flinn and his colleagues favor another theory, though.
They argue that humanity underwent a runaway cycle of brain evolution because of hominins' social nature.
The ecological dominance-social competition hypothesis works like this: Human ancestors reached a point in which their interactions with one another were the most important factor in whether they'd survive and pass on their genes.