Science magazine (sciencemag.org) consulted our Principal Investigator, Brian F. Byrd, PhD, for the special issue “Urban Planet.” Greg Miller, in his article Roots of the Urban Mind, spoke with Byrd about Dunbar’s view that living in groups larger than 150 or so exceeded the number of significant social relationships an individual can maintain, and caused psychological stresses that needed to be overcome. Byrd found support for Dunbar’s perspective in his studies of the transition to settled village life in the Near East and California. For example, Byrd’s work at early Neolithic Beidha in Jordan revealed the shift to larger agricultural communities involved architectural changes that created private household space separate from public and communal space. These insights support Miller’s view that early social innovations laid the foundation for modern urban cities and highlight Far Western’s contributions to anthropology in Science.
Check out the full article in Science 352(6288):908—911, and see more of Byrd’s research by connecting with him on ResearchGate.com.