If Humans Evolved To Be Social Creatures, Then Why Didn't Anyone Come To My Party?Commentary • Opinion • ISSUE 47•44 • Nov 1, 2011 By Ethan Stone It was Aristotle himself who first described humans as "social animals," and indeed his observation from 350 B.C. has been borne out by a considerable body of research in the field of evolutionary anthropology. Human beings have developed in such a way that gathering in groups is not merely advantageous but essential for the survival of both the individual and the species. Therefore, given the innate disposition of humans to congregate, it seems reasonable to ask: Why didn't anyone come to my party?While it is true humans are not wholly unique in their collaborative tendencies—one immediately thinks of ants, canines, lions, and certain termites—no other primate even approaches the social interdependence exhibited by human beings, a phenomenon strongly at odds with the fact that it is now past 11 and not a single person is here.I've been sitting by myself in my living room for three hours, this LCD Soundsystem album playing for no one. This is a state of isolation that, many scholars would argue, flies in the face of everything we know about the vital role of group dynamics in human evolution, which has been demonstrated to be indispensable for defense, procuring food, and child-rearing, among other factors necessary for the survival of a species.I mean, even Dan hasn't shown up.Dr. Michael Tomasello of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology has shown in his work on collective cognition that, in essence, I should not be going downstairs every 20 minutes to make sure the buzzer's working because humans are hardwired to coalesce into groups. The fact that I am watching this muted Denzel Washington movie on TNT instead of making out with a member of the opposite sex against a wall just contradicts our very engineering.Also consider this scenario through the prism of developmental psychology. Humans possess a neural capacity for empathy that guides us from the day we are born, when, as babies, we cry at the sound of another baby crying. In other words, we are attuned to each other's emotional needs from the womb before we can even feed ourselves or tend to our bodily functions. This surely means that all the people who aren't here—and who were given plenty of notice, by the way—must feel a profound sense of unease at leaving me all alone staring at an unopened jug of margarita mix and wondering when I should just blow out the tea candles and call it a night.Frankly, the cognitive dissonance they must be experiencing has to be overwhelming, particularly for Stephanie, who not only said she'd come and but actually offered to bring a punch bowl, too.Of course, given that humanity's cooperative instincts are tempered by the impulse to pay tribute to the alpha male within a group, it is possible that everyone just went to Kyle's party instead. All the girls think he's sexually attractive. He's got a nicer apartment, too, and probably has some guy deejaying. Yep, just the kind of asshole you always see at the top of any primate dominance hierarchy, except of course for that of the more matriarchal bonobo.As for me, I am now in the unfortunate position of the outcast who, while no longer in the physical peril from the predators he would have faced earlier in our evolution, is nevertheless left entirely on his own, with his inborn urges to socialize and procreate unsatisfied. Therefore, I shall now masturbate into this tube sock.