Re: Evolving Self-Awareness€€

Gerrit Hanenburg (
Sun, 10 Sep 1995 11:02:25 GMT () wrote:

>Jared Diamond in his book "The Third Chimpanzee" reviews the research
>into self-awareness in higher primates. One test that has been used is
>whether the animal recognizes itself in a mirror. If a colored spot is
>put on the chimp's face, how does it react when it sees its reflection?
>Chimps have been known to reach to the spot on their faces; some say this
>indicates they are aware that it is themselves they see. If higher
>primates have self-awareness, there is no need to seek it in early man;
>it could probably be assumed. Of course, all of this can be debated.
>Some humans seem barely self-aware; others are completely self-absorbed,
>and unaware of the humanity of others.

There are also the linguistic accounts of chimp and gorilla
self-awareness.Washoe,a chimpanzee who was tought sign language by the
Gardners,watching herself in a mirror,on being asked "Who that?" answered
without hesitation "Me Washoe".(Gardner,B.T & Gardner,R.A.1969 Teaching Sign
Language to a Chimpanzee.Science,165:664-672.)
A similar account is given for the lowland gorilla Koko.
(Byrne,R.1995.The Thinking Ape.Evolutionary origins of intelligence.Oxford
University Press.p.114)