Joined: Oct. 2006
|Quote (Ichthyic @ Feb. 13 2007,19:43)|
|I'm a little puzzled over primatologists previously considering this kind of tool using behavior to be likely mereley "imitation", when chimps have been shown to exhibit other complex tool using behaviors (preparing sticks for extracting termites, for example) which obviously have nothing to do with imitation.|
And don't disrespect imitation. Imitation has been promoted from "a cheap behavioral trick" (relative to insight and intelligence) and is now recognized as a very sophisticated form of cognition with important implications for the evolution of human 'theory of mind.' Unlike mimicking, imitative learning consists of reproducing the intentional actions of others, including both the end result or goal at which they are aiming and the behavior or strategy by means of which they are attempting to accomplish that goal.
See Andrew Whiten's work with an "artificial fruit," a box equipped with several defenses that must be surmounted before a food reward contained within may be obtained. In one example, the primate subject must withdraw two rods from restraining rings, remove a pin that restrains the barrel of a handle that blocks the lid, and then neutralize the handle by either rotating it or removing it to retrieve the fruit - with some actions occurring in the correct order. Whiten and others have presented distinct sequences of these alternative actions to several species (chimps, gorillas, Capuchin monkeys, orangs, etc.) and observed various degrees of talent for imitation. Very interesting stuff.
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.
"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace
"Hereâ€™s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington