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Was Love Always a Part of Life?

Zoe Huang

What is the reason behind love? Some say it is a blessing, others frown, and call it a curse. Perhaps it makes otherwise rational and brainy people behave the opposite. Or maybe it only brings grief, longing, and heartache. Sadly, sometimes lovers can make us sad, friends could make us mad, and it may feel like nothing much can make us glad! However, as part of human nature, we are wired to form connections and socialise with one another. Research suggests that individuals involved in positive relationships have a longer lifespan, heal quicker, and it can also lower blood pressure.

The capacity for love evolved as natural selection favoured caring for one another. Fossils reveal that love evolved hundreds of millions of years ago. It assisted our MAMMALIAN ancestors in survival during the existence of dinosaurs. Interestingly, all mammals, including humans, share a specific kind of love. The bond between an offspring and their mother. The earliest evidence of bonding between an offspring and parents can be observed around 200 million years ago during the latest Triassic, and earliest Jurassic periods.

Some time passes and the stone age comes to life. The stone age is often associated with survival. However, romance and other forms of relationships existed as well. Humans have always shown evidence of being able to form strong emotional bonds and express love and affection towards one another. Proof of romantic and unromantic relationships can be found in a variety of civilisations and cultures throughout history. This includes the Stone Age where people lived in small groups and relied on hunting and gathering for survival. Such groups were frequently focused on community and family. Relationships within these groups were vital for survival. But how exactly were those groups formed and maintained? It is widely believed that romantic relationships had a significant role as they were a source of cooperation, collaboration, and social support.

The Stone Age predates written forms of language leading to a lack of direct primary evidence. Nevertheless, some clues indicate the importance of affection and love to people alive during the Stone Age. For example, researchers have used the existence of jewellery and art from the Stone Age to provide evidence for the existence of romantic relationships. Jewellery for early humans was to differentiate between tribal leaders or members, for trading with other cultures, or religious purposes. Additionally, the fact that humans have always been known to be social creatures reinforces the importance of romance in prehistoric times. Therefore, looking at it from an evolutionary perspective it seems logical that humans would have developed the ability to create strong emotional connections important to have to survive in their environment.

Despite the limited direct primary evidence, the current knowledge and understanding we have about human evolution suggest that romance and affection have always been an important part of human life. Additionally, research has shown that social support and collaboration are vital for survival. Romantic relationships likely had an important role when it comes to providing support. In the past, love and affection were very likely a source of happiness, support, comfort, and safety for communities and individuals. Love is one of the oldest feelings to exist even though the way we express it has evolved.

Throughout the existence of the human race, love has consistently played an important role in how we survived in prehistoric times to modern day life, achieve common goals, and form meaningful relationships with others as well as strengthen existing ones.


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