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Making Tools and Making Sense: Complex, Intentional Behaviour in Human Evolution

  • Dietrich Stout (a1) and Thierry Chaminade (a2)


Stone tool-making is an ancient and prototypically human skill characterized by multiple levels of intentional organization. In a formal sense, it displays surprising similarities to the multi-level organization of human language. Recent functional brain imaging studies of stone tool-making similarly demonstrate overlap with neural circuits involved in language processing. These observations are consistent with the hypothesis that language and tool-making share key requirements for the construction of hierarchically structured action sequences and evolved together in a mutually reinforcing way.


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Cambridge Archaeological Journal
  • ISSN: 0959-7743
  • EISSN: 1474-0540
  • URL: /core/journals/cambridge-archaeological-journal
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