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Lecture 22

CGSC 1001 Lecture Notes - Lecture 22: Australopithecine, Noam Chomsky, Social Cognition


Department
Cognitive Science
Course Code
CGSC 1001
Professor
Jim Davies
Lecture
22

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Cognitive Science — Lecture 22
Social Cognition and The Evolution of Intelligence
Evolution of Cognition
- What we know of our ancestors’ bodies come from fossils, but there are two
problems with this
- 1) Behaviour is not fossilized
- This we rely on scant artifacts, but even those appear relatively
recently
- 2) Fossils are very rare
- It is thought that one bone in a billion becomes fossilized
- That means, for the population of Canada (34 million), six of the
human bones around today will end up getting fossilized
- Human fossils are extremely rare
How long have humans been around?
- The oldest fossils of fully-formed humans are only 50,000 to 100,000 years
old. That’s only 2,500–5,000 generations of 20 years
- If language is an instinct, like Chomsky implies, it probably had to evolve
for longer than humans have been around
- Australopithecines has hands evolved for manipulation
- We don’t know that they didn’t use tools
- Only stone and metal tools last, most modern hunter-gatherer societies of
today have more biodegradable tools than stone ones
- The oldest human fossils were found in Africa, from about 100,000 years
ago. However, some stuff found in Zaire has modernish-looking tools, dated
75k years ago
- Most living things leave no record at all
- It is estimated that 1 in 10,000 species ever gets fossilized
- Most creatures don’t die in sediment
- 95% of fossils are from marine creatures in shallow parts of the water
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