Before we investigate the major transformations in the human story of leadership behavior, it will be quite instructive to recognize the prehistoric and pre-human preamble, featuring people whose names will never be known because they were never written down and even non-human critters with no names at all. They set the stage for all of us alive today. In our next several episodes, we’ll check out some prehuman species to understand how we got from them to us. We'll start by considering one of the most interesting insect species: bees.

Bees and other insect species, of course, have been around for hundreds of millions of years, much longer than human beings or even our hominid ancestors. Most people know a little bit about how bees behave, but not very many have contemplated how their individual communication behavior and their social organization contribute to the well-being of the whole hive. In some respects, we could consider bees to be partners with human beings, since some human beings actually support large populations of bees in order to harvest the product of the work done by worker bees: namely, honey.

After we consider the behavior of bees, we'll move up the evolutionary ladder to ponder the behavior of other species: geese, who fly in formations that save energy and take turns doing the hardest work; and deer, who organize themselves in herds with the vulnerable does and fawns in the middle spaces surrounded by the feisty young males who compete for dominance and opportunities to reproduce. Through ritual competition, one alpha male emerges to act as a kind of leader of the whole herd and to claim all the female does as his own personal harem.

Deer are mammals, of course, and so are we. Covering the span from deer to human beings, we will consider the behavior of lions and other predators; wolves, who evolved into dogs (our best friends, companions, and work partners); and chimpanzees, who share about 98% of our genetic inheritance and are able to communicate and use tools much more effectively than any other species -- except for human beings, who communicate using very complex forms of spoken and written language, and who do work using tools that enable their users to build tall buildings, bridge large rivers, and fly hundreds of passengers for thousands of miles through the air.

Please stay tuned and thanks for your attention.