Re: Re(2): Paper on chimp culture

Lloyd Robertson (
Tue, 29 Jun 1999 14:10:18 -0600

Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 1999 14:10:18 -0600
From: Lloyd Robertson <>
Subject: Re: Re(2): Paper on chimp culture
In-Reply-To: <>

At 01:53 PM 29/06/99 -0400, Mark M. Mills wrote:
>At 10:15 AM 6/29/99 -0600, you wrote:
>>At 08:16 PM 28/06/99 -0400, Mark M. Mills wrote:
>>Consciousness / self-awareness probably developed in small
>>incremental steps as the ability to communicate developed, each feeding on
>>the other. It is impossible to say, therefore, that at some point a
>>specific dividing line was cross and we suddenly had conversation (the same
>>argument holds for the development of consciousness).
>I agree. Are you willing to extend these small incremental steps all the
>way back to the common ancestor we share with chimps?

I agree with your basic points on continuity. I don't think that either the
"language first" or "consciousness first" hypotheses necessarily negate
continuity - only if you believe that some "full blown" version of either
as a prerequisite for the other. As you know, however, I am partial toward
the third option, the co-evolution of both.

With respect to chimps, they have some level of self-awareness as shown,
for example, by experiments whereby individuals recognize their mirror
images. They also have some level of communication with possible cultural
differences between troops. This seems to me to be evidence (but not
conclusive) that our common ancester was somewhere on the continuum we are


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