Imitation vs reasoning in chimpanzees.

Scientists continue to believe that animals are not especially proficient at imitation. That even extends to chimpanzees. Yet how do they learn new tricks? Researchers have found, for example, that chimpanzees can mash potatoes. The answer is that they work it out for themselves. They do not copy another chimpanzee. Reasoning was there all along. So, when there was an explosion of invention and so on over the last few 100,000 years, cognition certainly played a part. But the other important ingredient was a new-found ability to imitate, which surpassed anything that had gone before.

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