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The Thinking Ape

The Evolutionary Origins of Intelligence

Richard Byrne

Publication Date - 23 March 1995

ISBN: 9780198522652

280 pages

This text brings together modern primate and anthropological research to describe human cognitive evolution.


This text describes how human ancestors reached the point in cognitive evolution from which the evolution of modern humans was possible. Rather than speculating about the mental abilities of fossil hominids, on the basis of modern human psychology, the author explores earlier phases of evolution, with the more solid and testable evidence of human ancestry that is still alive: modern primates and other animals.

Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: The Limits of Fossil Evidence
    2. Taxonomy and the Reconstruction of Evolution
    3. What is Intelligence and What is it For?
    4. How Animals Learn
    5. Why Animals Learn Better in Social Groups
    6. Imitative Behavior in Animals
    7. Understanding How Things Work
    8. Understanding Minds: Doing and Seeing, Knowing and Thinking
    9. What Use is a Theory of Mind?
    10. Planning and Thinking Ahead
    11. Apes and Language
    12. Food for Thought
    13. Machiavellian Intelligence
    14. Testing the Theories
    15. Taking Stock

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