Flashcards in Transition to Human behaviour Deck (8)
Transition to human behaviour 1
Extinct pre-human primates can be assumed to act similarly to modern primates in terms of natural and sexual selection, due to shared ancestry. Higher primates have the largest brain to body ratio of all mammalian groups. Brains however, are costly to grow so we can be sure that there are benefits to the evolution of intelligence.
Chimpanzee tool useTechnical intelligence and tool use in non-human primates
Technical intelligence is the ability of an animal to extract food and other resources from its environment. Tool use in non- human primates can indicate clues about evolution of human intelligence and culture. Human stone tool use dates back to 2.5million years ago but before this there was no doubt the use of tools as primates use now.
Chimpanzee tool use
There are four categories; Probes- to extract insects and other food. Hammers- to crack nuts. Sponges- to soak up liquid. Branches- to act as weapons for defence. However, there are geographical differences, probes are used mostly in Eastern Africa and hammers are used more in Western Africa.
Non-human primate culture and tool use
Culture can be defined as the learned traditions of a group and cultural differences best explain the different tool use in chimpanzees. Although, there is genetic differences between Eastern and Western chimpanzee populations, this should not influence tool use as its a learned behavioural trait not genetic. Environmental differences across Africa is irrelevant as the same resources are available in all forests.
Grooming and other behaviours of chimpanzees occurs continuously across populations and does not appear to be environmentally determined.
Tool use in other primates
Although chimpanzees are the most technological of all non-human primates, others use simple tools. Capuchins, for example, use sticks to collect insects and other foods. Orangutang's also use sticks to probe. Some sophisticated cognitive skills are needed for this, they include foresight, planing and the flexibility to apply a tool to different situations. Each generation of offspring must observe and learn the skill.