Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UCLA Previously Published Works bannerUCLA

The Emergence of Order from Disorder as a Form of Self Organization


Elaboration of individuation is one of the trends in primate evolution. Individuation makes it more difficult to maintain group coherency. Individuation as it occurs in the phylogenetic shift from the Cercopithecoids (Old World monkeys) to African pongids, especially Pan, appears to have passed a threshold with Pan reverting to smaller, less coherent groups of males and females as a way to deal with increased individuation. In contrast, hominid evolution displays a pattern of group coherency and cooperative behavior that arose in conjunction with the mental construction of relations among individuals that we refer to as genealogical relations. Genealogical relations transcend the limitation of biological kinship as a basis for group coherency, but the combinatorial complexity of all possible genealogical relations becomes problematic with increase in group size. The latter was resolved, it is argued, through the construction of acomputational system—a kinship terminology—whose conceptual complexity is independent of the size of a group. This shift to a conceptual/cultural foundation for group coherency changed the dynamics of societal change away from biologically grounded processes of change.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View