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Language and tool making are similar cognitive processes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 June 2012

Ralph L. Holloway
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027. rlh2@columbia.eduhttp://www.columbia.edu/~rlh2

Abstract

Design features for language and stone toolmaking (not tool use) involve similar if not homologous cognitive processes. Both are arbitrary transformations of internal “intrinsic” symbolization, whereas non-human tool using is mostly an iconic transformation. The major discontinuity between humans and non-humans (chimpanzees) is language. The presence of stone tools made to standardized patterns suggests communicative and social control skills that involved language.

Type
Open Peer Commentary
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

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