How and Why Did Religion Evolve?
As the ape line evolved from our last common ancestor in more open environments, it was necessary to pressure apes, who prefer to go it alone, to form more lasting social structures. Natural selection was able to accomplish this astonishing feat by enhancing the emotional palettes available that had long been available to our ancestors. With a broader set of emotions, the hominin brain was then able to enhance some of its capabilities, some of which quite naturally lent themselves a religious way of being. As these capacities got more acutely enhanced with the growth of the Homo brain and the development of the neocortex, behaviors such as play and ritual entered a new phase in hominin development, becoming the raw materials out of which cultural evolution would begin to institutionalize religion.