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Hominid intelligence (was RE: So how intelligent were troodontids?)



> From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
> David Marjanovic
>
> > [...] the human ability to create tools other than nests almost
> > certainly evolved after then gorilla - (Pan + Hominini) split,
> but before
> > the divergence of the Pan-Homo lineages.
>
> Has there been enough research on gorillas that we could say "almost
> certainly"? I bet that that's not the case.

Well, there have been some substantial field studies of all three of the
non-human hominids (gorillas, chimps, bonobos), and while chimp and bonobos
studies show the use of wooden and (at least for bonobos) stone tools,
gorillas have not been shown to use such.  Of course all of these, plus
orang utans, also make beds out of vegetation, so that trait is even more
basal.

The question might be asked whether gorillas even NEED to make tools.  Fair
enough.  However, as far as we can understand with current data, the actual
behavior of wood or stone tool use is a derived behavioral trait uniting
chimps, bonobos, and humans (and is documented in extinct taxa closer to
humans than to the other two).

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                Vertebrate Paleontologist
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
                College Park, MD  20742
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/tholtz.htm
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~jmerck/eltsite
Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796