Political complexity increases gradually — but can decline rapidly.
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Currie, T. E., Greenhill, S. J., Gray, R. D., Hasegawa, T. & Mace, R. Nature 467, 801-804 (2010).
Gray, R. D., Drummond, A. J. & Greenhill, S. J. Science 323, 479-483 (2009).
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Smith, K. Societies evolve in steps. Nature (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/news.2010.537