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The Mentality of Apes Revisited

Daniel J. Povinelli and Jesse M. Bering
Current Directions in Psychological Science
Vol. 11, No. 4 (Aug., 2002), pp. 115-119
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20182786
Page Count: 5
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The Mentality of Apes Revisited
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Abstract

Although early comparative psychology was seriously marred by claims of our species' supremacy, the residual backlash against these archaic evolutionary views is still being felt, even though our understanding of evolutionary biology is now sufficiently advanced to grapple with possible cognitive specializations that our species does not share with closely related species. The overzealous efforts to dismantle arguments of human uniqueness have only served to show that most comparative psychologists working with apes have yet to set aside the antiquated evolutionary "ladder." Instead, they have only attempted to pull chimpanzees up to the ladder's highest imaginary rung--or perhaps, to pull humans down to an equally imaginary rung at the height of the apes. A true comparative science of animal minds, however, will recognize the complex diversity of the animal kingdom, and will thus view Homo sapiens as one more species with a unique set of adaptive skills crying out to be identified and understood.

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