As time goes on, we are finding that the differences between ourselves and the animals around us are much less than we had supposed. Mother Nature seems to have a way of slowly, carefully beating the hubris and arrogance out of us. Our home, the earth, has proven to be far less special than we had thought, and now it seems that we ourselves are proving to be less different from our fellow primates than we had presumed.

If this research pans out and the result threatens the human intellectual superiority paradigm, I can see already the howls of protest from the Creationists. But at least this researcher won't spend the rest of her life under house arrest as Galileo did. So I guess we are making at least some progress...

Great Apes Might Be Misunderstood

ScienceDaily (Oct. 6, 2010) — Great apes might be much more similar to us -- and just as smart -- than science has led us to believe.

A new study will examine the extent to which common designs of comparative psychology research, which rates humans as more advanced than apes, are fatally flawed.

Professor Kim Bard, a comparative developmental psychologist from the University of Portsmouth, has spent a lifetime studying great apes, their cognitive development and what sets them apart from humans.

She has won a three-year £135,000 Leverhulme Trust grant to allow her to investigate cross-group variations in great apes' and human abilities and development. If she finds what she expects, her research will form a new gold standard for future research into cognitive abilities of both apes and humans...

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Very inflammatory title considering all it says is that a study is underway that removes previously confounding variables. We don't know how that study will turn out. And, of course, this is all assuming there aren't any confounding variables in the new study.

What none of these or other studies have measured, though, is the comparative differences when you take out all the confounding variables of type of parenting and culture. That is what my new research aims to do -- to reveal what really sets humans and great apes apart. I think I will find that great apes are capable of 'joint attention'."

Really? How do you raise humans and apes in the same environment? Additionally, isn't our culturally created environment part of what differentiates us from the apes? I don't know, the tone of this article makes me extra skeptical. Hopefully the results of the study will be interesting.
I would like to see if you can invent blue cheese without any knowledge of it. In fact, I would like you to make a Homo erectus handhax without any knowledge of them, or even a simplier olduvaiense flake.

The contribution of previous lifes and anonymous inventors in our own life is so great that we just don't see it most of the time.

We surely are as Bernard of Chartres said it: "like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants".




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