Monday, February 05, 2007

Of Apes, Humans, and Culture

An excellent article by Kirsten Vala explores the question of whether apes have culture. She cites an authority who outlines four factors in what humans call culture and notes that chimps and orangutans exhibit thee of the four. It is our use of symbols that remains as the key differentiator between us and our closest primate cousins.

COMMENT: One conservationist wrote that humans can no longer be distinguished as "the tool-using animal" or "the language-using animal," since we have found other mammals can have both traits. He suggested we redefine ourselves as "the credit card-using animal."

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