The background to hominid intelligence

Stephen E. G. Lea

in The Descent of Mind

Published in print March 2000 | ISBN: 9780192632593
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191670497 | DOI:
The background to hominid intelligence

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Among the animal species that share some kind of common ancestor with humans there are many, in addition to the four species of great ape that apparently also share some kind of intelligence. Such shared intelligence might be due to common descent in some; in others it might be due to convergence — common evolutionary processes operating on a common inheritance, but independently. The argument of this chapter is that understanding intelligence in these more remote relatives has something to contribute to the understanding of the hominid mind. It outlines a few basic principles of modern evolutionary theory. It also considers what might form the common cognitive inheritance of all mammals, and therefore the foundation on which the extraordinary cognitive evolution of the primates must have been built. The chapter considers where else in the animal kingdom human-like intelligence can be found, so that we can consider what selective pressures might have been critical in recent hominid evolution.

Keywords: intelligence; descent; hominid; mind; modern evolutionary theory; cognitive inheritance; cognitive evolution; animal kingdom; human-like intelligence; evolution

Chapter.  12803 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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