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Lecture 17

ANTHRO 7 Lecture Notes - Lecture 17: Parachuting, Observational Learning


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANTHRO 7
Professor
Barrett Clark
Lecture
17

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Odalys Cutz
Anthropology 7 Section: 1H
TA: Jonathan Sivan
5 June 2017
Week 10 Homework Chapter 16 Q: 1& 4
1. The verb ape means “to copy or imitate”. Is its meaning consistent with what we now
know about the learning processes of other primates?
An example could be the chimpanzees who would use the twigs as probes to fish for termites and
the young females watched their mothers fish for these termites while the young males were less
attentive. Another example would be the monkeys who feed on seeds of Luhea fruits which they
get by pounding the fruits along a rough surface or by scrubbing it. These techniques are often
imitated by the younger ones and they either adopt one or the other technique depending on
whom they associate themselves more with. The other example of a chimpanzee opening a box
and the other chimpanzees learning the technique by observational learning. These other
primates learn from observing their elders.
4. Some things that we do seem to be maladaptive (think about skydiving, drug abuse, and
collecting classic cars). Some people would argue that these behaviors provide evidence that
natural selection has no important impact on modern humans. Is this a reasonable argument?
Why or why not?
I would say this is not a reasonable argument although, learning and other psychological
mechanisms have shaped cultural evolution in some way, Natural Selection has shaped the
physiological mechanisms and psychological machinery that govern learning and other
mechanisms of cultural change. According to many, human evolution is over due to the cultural
changes being much faster than genetic changes. But without natural selection then humans
wouldn’t be able to evolve in ideas and strategies that were passed on.
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