Re: Agreements on Archaeology

From: John Croft
Message: 1439
Date: 2000-02-08

Glen wrote in reply to Sabines post about my

> >>The construction of such a vessel would presumably imply language of
> >>some kind.
> Sabine:
> >Why that?

> Pay no mind. There are chimps known to teach younger chimps to put a
> stick into an ant hole to get at the ants easily. They then suck the
> off the stick. The younger chimps then can be seen doing this. There
is much
> evidence of tool-use amongst chimps and the ability they have to
> younger generations innovative techniques.
> This vessel fabrication no doubt would require an ingenious use of a
> but do chimps have language or are they simply good at observing and
> imitating? In parallel, does the fabrication of a vessel necessarily
> language or is there a similar learning by example? The existence of
> hypothetical vessel on its own doesn't suggest one way or another.

Yes, learning by example does come in, but to get everyone to get
together to cooperate on travelling as a group to an island on the
horizon, and then cooperate in the felling of trees or the binding of
bamboo in a raft that is safe enough to permit a 40-50km ocean
crossing, seems to me to be something that is a little more complex
than termite fishing - something a mother chimp teaches her ofspring
one on one.

Surely the famous Occams Razor would suggest some (elementary for us
perhaps, but very sophisticated for Chimps) form of language to get the
social group to coordinate their activities for such a complex task?