Herodotus Returns

NPR on Symbolic Thinking
August 12, 2010, 9:06 pm
Filed under: Cognitive evolution | Tags: , , ,

Ascent of Man Illustration

Here’s a great piece from NPR on symbolic thinking. Primer to cognitive archaeology, beginnings of complex human behavior. Tip of hat to Christopher Henshilwood in there, too.

Ever since Darwin came up with the whole idea of evolution, there’s been one dominant picture of the moment we truly became human. It’s that cartoon sequence: You see a hairy ape man with a heavy brow hunched in profile. Then, bit by bit, his back uncurls and straightens until all of a sudden there is he, upright, truly a man.

Recently I’ve been thinking about this image, because I’ve decided that we somehow ended up with the wrong one — that there’s something much more fundamental to being human than our ability to stand upright.

More on ‘when we became human.’ Really great stuff.