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Childhood and advances in human tool use

  • Mark Nielsen (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

Human life history incorporates childhood, a lengthy post-weaning period of dependency. This species-specific period provides an opportunity for extensive learning and for sophisticated cultural behaviors to develop, including crucial tool use skills. Although I agree that no individual cognitive trait singularly differentiates humans from other animals, I suggest here that without childhood, the traits that are key to human tool use would not emerge.

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M. Nielsen & K. Tomaselli (2010) Over-imitation in Kalahari Bushman children and the origins of human cultural cognition. Psychological Science 21:729–36.

D. W. Sellen & D. B. Smay (2001) Relationship between subsistence and age at weaning in “preindustrial” societies. Human Nature 12:4787.

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Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • ISSN: 0140-525X
  • EISSN: 1469-1825
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioral-and-brain-sciences
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