Over at Psychology Today, I’m in a celebratory mood. It’s been fifty years since Jane Goodall discovered that animals have been making tools. And it’s been downhill ever since. Check it out.
Curiously, I did not know how you intended “downhill” until I read the article. It can mean either bad (increasing distance from the apex) or good (less difficult travel, as gravity assists), depending on context.
It’s gone! Wha’ happen’?
I tried navigating from the home page and the blog directory and everything.
«Historical accounts from the 16th and 17th centuries by Portuguese priests visiting West Africa mention typical chimpanzee behaviours such as nut cracking (palm nut) and the raiding of honeybee nests for honey (Hair 1984; Sept & Brooks 1994)»
Gene flow in wild chimpanzee populations: what genetic data tell us about chimpanzee movement over space and time. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2001.0865
How many great discoveries may have been lost throughout history because the world simply wasn’t ready for them?
It seems to me that the length of time our children are dependent on us enforces our social habits in a clear darwinian sense. Child caring is clearly a selection pressure. Antisocial people are not successful in leaving offspring, and those traits decrease naturally over time.
This then sets up the second scenario to which you allude in your article – the longer children are around their parents, the more lore they learn. Lore which includes the collected tool using skills of their predecessors.
I love thinking about how we came about, running down these crazy connections that formed us.
Keep up the good work turning over those rocks!
Tool use and tool-making (? modification at least) in American Crows:
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Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The Loom. He is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.