Robin Hanson is really on fire now with his analysis of farmer vs. forager psychology. Whether consciously or not, he’s extending the farmer model given by Cochran and Harpending in The 10,000 Year Explosion. Cochran and Harpending’s model is interesting in the way it points out the disappointing truth about humanity’s self-domestication. To put it in crude terms, we’ve naturally selected ourselves into a bunch of conformist townie wussies.
My default model of Homo sapiens is four-layered — our primate-mammalian background from 80 mya, the Homo sapiens EEA (environment of evolutionary adaptiveness) pan-species bedrock, post-African diaspora/farming/Neolithic Revolution selection pressures, and the modern world. Rich data is available to update the model at all four levels, but in my opinion #3, the farming revolution, is most neglected. I hazard to guess it’s the most neglected because the particulars of it make distinctions between different groups of existing humans.
Another neglected area, as far as my reading goes, is the mystical/mythical side of the time period intermediate between the EEA and farming. The period of time when all our elaborate myths were invented, perhaps 10-20,000 years ago. The Golden Bough provides powerful evidence of the content of this entire area (hint: it involves burning lots of effigies), but what scholarly work exists on mythological origins prior to all trendy modern traditions? The Golden Bough was published 120 years ago. Anyone know more recent material?