Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Experimental evidence for the co-evolution of hominin tool-making teaching and language

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

DOI

Open Access permissions

Open

Standard

Experimental evidence for the co-evolution of hominin tool-making teaching and language. / Morgan, T. J. H.; Uomini, N. T.; Rendell, L. E.; Chouinard-Thuly, L.; Street, S. E.; Lewis, H. M.; Cross, C. P.; Evans, C.; Kearney, R.; de la Torre, I.; Whiten, A.; Laland, K. N.

In: Nature Communications, Vol. 6, 6029, 13.01.2015.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Harvard

Morgan, TJH, Uomini, NT, Rendell, LE, Chouinard-Thuly, L, Street, SE, Lewis, HM, Cross, CP, Evans, C, Kearney, R, de la Torre, I, Whiten, A & Laland, KN 2015, 'Experimental evidence for the co-evolution of hominin tool-making teaching and language' Nature Communications, vol 6, 6029. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms7029

APA

Morgan, T. J. H., Uomini, N. T., Rendell, L. E., Chouinard-Thuly, L., Street, S. E., Lewis, H. M., ... Laland, K. N. (2015). Experimental evidence for the co-evolution of hominin tool-making teaching and language. Nature Communications, 6, [6029]. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms7029

Vancouver

Morgan TJH, Uomini NT, Rendell LE, Chouinard-Thuly L, Street SE, Lewis HM et al. Experimental evidence for the co-evolution of hominin tool-making teaching and language. Nature Communications. 2015 Jan 13;6. 6029. Available from, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms7029

Author

Morgan, T. J. H.; Uomini, N. T.; Rendell, L. E.; Chouinard-Thuly, L.; Street, S. E.; Lewis, H. M.; Cross, C. P.; Evans, C.; Kearney, R.; de la Torre, I.; Whiten, A.; Laland, K. N. / Experimental evidence for the co-evolution of hominin tool-making teaching and language.

In: Nature Communications, Vol. 6, 6029, 13.01.2015.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Bibtex - Download

@article{58c967416f93427ea97f0fa77bbdb760,
title = "Experimental evidence for the co-evolution of hominin tool-making teaching and language",
abstract = "Hominin reliance on Oldowan stone tools—which appear from 2.5 mya and are believed to have been socially transmitted—has been hypothesized to have led to the evolution of teaching and language. Here we present an experiment investigating the efficacy of transmission of Oldowan tool-making skills along chains of adult human participants (N=184) using five different transmission mechanisms. Across six measures, transmission improves with teaching, and particularly with language, but not with imitation or emulation. Our results support the hypothesis that hominin reliance on stone tool-making generated selection for teaching and language, and imply that (i) low-fidelity social transmission, such as imitation/emulation, may have contributed to the ~700,000 year stasis of the Oldowan technocomplex, and (ii) teaching or proto-language may have been pre-requisites for the appearance of Acheulean technology. This work supports a gradual evolution of language, with simple symbolic communication preceding behavioural modernity by hundreds of thousands of years.",
keywords = "Tool-use, Human evolution, Social transmission, Language evolution",
author = "Morgan, {T. J. H.} and Uomini, {N. T.} and Rendell, {L. E.} and L. Chouinard-Thuly and Street, {S. E.} and Lewis, {H. M.} and Cross, {C. P.} and C. Evans and R. Kearney and {de la Torre}, I. and A. Whiten and Laland, {K. N.}",
note = "Research supported in part by an ERC Advanced Grant to K.N.L. (EVOCULTURE, ref: 232823) and grants to N.T.U. from the British Academy (Centenary Project ‘Lucy to Language: the Archaeology of the Social Brain’) and the Leverhulme Trust (ECF 0298). Supplementary information available for this article at http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2015/150113/ncomms7029/suppinfo/ncomms7029_S1.html",
year = "2015",
month = "1",
doi = "10.1038/ncomms7029",
volume = "6",
journal = "Nature Communications",
issn = "2041-1723",
publisher = "Nature publishing group",

}

RIS (suitable for import to EndNote) - Download

TY - JOUR

T1 - Experimental evidence for the co-evolution of hominin tool-making teaching and language

AU - Morgan,T. J. H.

AU - Uomini,N. T.

AU - Rendell,L. E.

AU - Chouinard-Thuly,L.

AU - Street,S. E.

AU - Lewis,H. M.

AU - Cross,C. P.

AU - Evans,C.

AU - Kearney,R.

AU - de la Torre,I.

AU - Whiten,A.

AU - Laland,K. N.

N1 - Research supported in part by an ERC Advanced Grant to K.N.L. (EVOCULTURE, ref: 232823) and grants to N.T.U. from the British Academy (Centenary Project ‘Lucy to Language: the Archaeology of the Social Brain’) and the Leverhulme Trust (ECF 0298). Supplementary information available for this article at http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2015/150113/ncomms7029/suppinfo/ncomms7029_S1.html

PY - 2015/1/13

Y1 - 2015/1/13

N2 - Hominin reliance on Oldowan stone tools—which appear from 2.5 mya and are believed to have been socially transmitted—has been hypothesized to have led to the evolution of teaching and language. Here we present an experiment investigating the efficacy of transmission of Oldowan tool-making skills along chains of adult human participants (N=184) using five different transmission mechanisms. Across six measures, transmission improves with teaching, and particularly with language, but not with imitation or emulation. Our results support the hypothesis that hominin reliance on stone tool-making generated selection for teaching and language, and imply that (i) low-fidelity social transmission, such as imitation/emulation, may have contributed to the ~700,000 year stasis of the Oldowan technocomplex, and (ii) teaching or proto-language may have been pre-requisites for the appearance of Acheulean technology. This work supports a gradual evolution of language, with simple symbolic communication preceding behavioural modernity by hundreds of thousands of years.

AB - Hominin reliance on Oldowan stone tools—which appear from 2.5 mya and are believed to have been socially transmitted—has been hypothesized to have led to the evolution of teaching and language. Here we present an experiment investigating the efficacy of transmission of Oldowan tool-making skills along chains of adult human participants (N=184) using five different transmission mechanisms. Across six measures, transmission improves with teaching, and particularly with language, but not with imitation or emulation. Our results support the hypothesis that hominin reliance on stone tool-making generated selection for teaching and language, and imply that (i) low-fidelity social transmission, such as imitation/emulation, may have contributed to the ~700,000 year stasis of the Oldowan technocomplex, and (ii) teaching or proto-language may have been pre-requisites for the appearance of Acheulean technology. This work supports a gradual evolution of language, with simple symbolic communication preceding behavioural modernity by hundreds of thousands of years.

KW - Tool-use

KW - Human evolution

KW - Social transmission

KW - Language evolution

UR - http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2015/150113/ncomms7029/full/ncomms7029.html#supplementary-information

U2 - 10.1038/ncomms7029

DO - 10.1038/ncomms7029

M3 - Article

VL - 6

JO - Nature Communications

T2 - Nature Communications

JF - Nature Communications

SN - 2041-1723

M1 - 6029

ER -

Related by author

  1. Sex differences in confidence influence patterns of conformity

    Cross, C. P., Brown, G. R., Morgan, T. J. H. & Laland, K. N. 11 Nov 2016 In : British Journal of Psychology. 108, 4, p. 655-667

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Social Evolution and the collective brain

    Laland, K. N. & Rendell, L. Sep 2017 In : Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 32, 9, p. 625-626 2 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

  3. The extension of biology through culture

    Whiten, A., Ayala, F., Feldman, M. W. & Laland, K. N. 24 Jul 2017 In : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Early Edition, 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Evolutionary approaches to human behaviour

    Brown, G. R., Cross, C. P. & Laland, K. N. 2017 The Behaviour of Animals: Mechanisms, Function and Evolution; 2nd Edition; Ed. J. Bolhuis and L.-A. Giraldeau.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  5. Nothing in Human Behavior Makes Sense Except in the Light of Culture: Shared Interests of Social Psychology and Cultural Evolution

    Morgan, T. J. H., Cross, C. P. & Rendell, L. E. 2015 Evolutionary Perspectives on Social Psychology. Zeigler-Hill, V., Welling, L. L. M. & Shackelford, T. K. (eds.). New York: Springer

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Related by journal

  1. Taking the pulse of Mars via dating of a plume-fed volcano

    Cohen, B. E., Mark, D. F., Cassata, W. S., Lee, M. R., Tomkinson, T. & Smith, C. L. 3 Oct 2017 In : Nature Communications. 8, 9 p., 640

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Synthetic lethality between androgen receptor signalling and the PARP pathway in prostate cancer

    Asim, M. , Tarish, F. , Zecchini, H. I. , Sanjiv, K. , Gelali, E. , Massie, C. E. , Baridi, A. , Warren, A. Y. , Zhao, W. , Ogris, C. , McDuffus, L-A. , Mascalchi, P. , Shaw, G. , Dev, H. , Wadhwa, K. , Wijnhoven, P. , Forment, J. V. , Lyons, S. R. , Lynch, A. G. , O'Neill, C. & 10 others Zecchini, V. R., Rennie, P. S., Baniahmad, A., Tavaré, S., Mills, I. G., Galanty, Y., Crosetto, N., Schultz, N., Neal, D. & Helleday, T. 29 Aug 2017 In : Nature Communications. 8, 10 p., 374

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Observation of hybrid Tamm-plasmon exciton-polaritons with GaAs quantum wells and a MoSe2 monolayer

    Wurdack, M., Lundt, N., Klaas, M., Baumann, V., Kavokin, A., Höfling, S. & Schneider, C. 15 Aug 2017 In : Nature Communications. 8, 6 p., 259

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Living GenoChemetics by hyphenating synthetic biology and synthetic chemistry in vivo

    Sharma, S. V., Tong, X., Pubill-Ulldemolins, C., Cartmell, C., Bogosyan, E. J. A., Rackham, E. J., Marelli, E., Hamed, R. B. & Goss, R. J. M. 9 Aug 2017 In : Nature Communications. 8, 10 p., 229

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Charge carrier localised in zero-dimensional (CH3NH3)3Bi219 clusters

    Ni, C., Hedley, G. J., Payne, J. L., Svrcek, V., McDonald, C., Jagadamma, L. K., Edwards, P., Martin, R., Jain, G., Carolan, D., Mariotti, D., Maguire, P., Samuel, I. D. W. & Irvine, J. T. S. 1 Aug 2017 In : Nature Communications. 8, 7 p., 170

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 168639052