NAU ANT 101 - kzs6_E2_101_

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Kristina SimonovicANT101Susan Smiley22 July 2018Essay 2It has been proven with the advancement of science that humans and chimpanzees share acommon ancestor. There are many genetic similarities that humans share with chimpanzees in addition to behavioral and social characteristics. According to the documentary, “Ape Genius”, “The skills and emotions we once thought were uniquely human are being found in apes” (NOVA 2008). Chimpanzees have a surprisingly similar fashion in which they hunt, compared toancestral homo sapiens. “Ape Genius”, illustrates chimps creating tools to use for hunting, much like humans did before becoming civilized. “Ape Genius”, mentions, “never before has any non-human species been known to routinely make and use deadly weapons” (NOVA 2008). In addition, chimps are known to hunt in groups, again, much like ancestral humans. Further, chimps are capable of both teaching and learning these beneficial discoveries to other members of their tribe. The documentary demonstrates, “generating ideas and sharing technologies- that’s one scientific definition of culture” (NOVA 2008). This ability to spread knowledge and pick up on new information through reasoning indicates a strong relationship between humans and chimpanzees. As stated in the documentary, “Learning by imitation is an essential skill for culture and culture, along with the complex thoughts and emotions behind it, were long believed to be uniquely human” (NOVA 2008). As humans continue to learn about apes, they are finding even more similarities that confirm a common ancestor between the two.On the contrary, chimpanzees and humans do have some distinct differences, which explains why humans have advanced at an exponential rate, while chimpanzees still continue to live in the same ways that they lived hundreds of years ago. One of main differences which slowed advancement of chimpanzees is their ability to cooperate with one another as a species. According to the reading “One For All”, de Waal states, “One oft-mentioned difference between humans and other primates is that we are the only species to cooperate with outsiders and strangers” (de Waal 2014). While primates can be empathetic and respond to emotion by cooperation similar to humans, a major difference is that for primates, “cooperation is often based on reciprocity” (de Waal 2014). The article exemplifies, “One way humans may be truly unique, though, is in the highly organized nature of our cooperativeness” (de Waal 2014). Humans are different from chimps in that humans have this innate response that will cause people to risk their own lives at the expense of saving the life of a complete stranger. While, “primates in nature are mostly competitive between groups”, humans through becoming civilizedhave acquired this sense of responsibility to cooperate with their species (de Waal 2014). With the constant competition of dominance throughout primate communities, primates will only ever be able to cooperate to a certain degree, and that is why primates remain an uncivilized species. Human culture has become a way of welcoming outsiders and coexisting civilly to create community, and that is a way of thinking that primates still lack.Comparing the minds of chimpanzees to human children creates a more accurate representation of some major differences. Chimpanzees and human children have a relatively similar degree of development in their brains and both share a lack of communication through language. This creates a sort of level “playing-field” when analyzing similarities and differences. After putting the chimps, orangutans, and human children through the same tests, researchersfound that, “toddlers bested both chimps and orangutans on tests (adapted for nonverbal apes) that examined the ability to communicate, learn from others, and evaluate another being’s perceptions and wishes” (Stix 2014). According to “The It Fator”, the author says, “It was really the first time that it was shown that social-cognitive abilities are the key skills that make us special in comparison to other animals” (Stix 2014). The apes were unable to understand the motioning of hands as gestures to be a form of communication. When pointing to an object in theroom, the apes were unresponsive, however, the children immediately understood the gesturing as a form of communication. Stix explains, “This type of gesturing—an extension of humans’ cognitive capacity for shared intentionality—may have been the basis for communicating abstract ideas needed to establish more elaborate social groups, whether they be a tribe or a nation” (Stix 2014). Human children begin to develop skills in cooperation when they are around2 years old. Chimpanzees take a long time to develop the ability to cooperate and many never do.A chimp’s ability to cooperate is often confined to just their tribe. In the article, Stix states, “An ability to devise and perceive shared goals—and to intuit immediately what a hunting partner was thinking—apparently allowed our hominin ancestors to make cognitive strides in other ways, such as developing more sophistication in communicative uses of gesturing than our ape relatives possess” (Stix 2014). The fact that humans have evolved at such a rate that our species dominates life on Earth remains astounding but cannot be attributed to chance alone. REFERENCESNOVA. 2008 Ape Genius. WGBH Boston. Video on de Waal, F. 2014 One for All. Scientific American. September. Pages 69-71.Stix, G. 2014 The It Factor. Scientific American, September

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