Humans have a very dependable characteristic which enables us to swap through all kinds of environments and thrive. We do this through generalization but once we settle, we can specialize quickly to overcome whatever challenges the environment throws at us. The “general specialist” is the term used by scientists to describe us, which is a new ecological role.
Our species left Africa about 80000 years ago and we spread all across the globe, from tropical forests to mountain ranges. It has been a common thought among paleoarchaeologists that we didn’t go extinct especially because we could change our way of thinking, while being extremely adept of using symbolism.
After we looked across the globe for our home we were able to specifically use the resources available in the environment we settled. Homo sapiens was, apparently, the only species among the Hominides able to adapt and thrive so easily and that’s we are the only ones that stuck around.
Neanderthals and Homo erectus, to name a few, could also colonize other places in Asia or Europe but they both became extinct. Complex language or symbolism weren’t exclusive to our species and that’s because we shared a common ancestor with the Neanderthals, called Homo heidelbergensis.
A long time ago we started to colonize the world, from Asia to the Americas and Australia and that’s because we are a generalist-specialist. Somehow we were able of meeting the criteria of two completely different ecological roles, the generalist and the specialist. Maybe we did this by communicating with other humans that weren’t related to us and with sharing the information we became easier to adapt to certain environmental conditions.
In the end, the fact that we shared food and knowledge lead to us surviving the test of time and here we are.