intelligence -- reply to Ottevanger

Rob Quinlan (C611417@MIZZOU1.MISSOURI.EDU)
Wed, 8 Feb 1995 15:07:20 CST

If tool use is a byproduct of intelligence rather than the evolutionary
driver (as I suspect it is), then we would expect both males and
females to use them. My point was that if tool use was the push behind
the evolution of intelligence, then it was not simply a matter of
increased subsistence efficiency. My guess is that there is no difference
in the fitness of chimps that use a termite stick and those that don't/
can't based only on increased calorie intake. (Although there may be
differences in fitness due to other effects of intelligence; e.g.,
better ability to "navigate" the social environment.) The only way
small improvements in subsistence efficiency can result in significant
differential reproduction is if the energy resources are converted
into social resources. The implication is that males used the product
of their tool use (meat) to gain a fitness advantage. They presumably
did this by exchanging meat for exclusive (or mostly exclusive) sexual
access to females. This would result in differential male reproduction
sufficient to explain the hyperdevelopment of the human intellect. The
problem is that this presupposes a social organization sophisticated
enough to permit that kind of social exchange (meat for access). It
also suggests that certain salient aspects of human sexuality
(e.g. perennial receptivity, pair-bondability etc.) were already
present when tool use evolved. I think this is unlikely.

There are some female centered tool use scenarios as well (e.g. N.Tanner
in _The evolution of human behavior:primate models_ W.Kinzey ed.). These
arguments still hold that tool use was the diver for the ev. of intel.
but lack an explanation of how females converted energy into fitness.
The male centered models have the meat for sex conversion, while
female models lack even that. The female models also have the same
problem of implicit assumptions about the level of social organization
at the point tool use evolved.

I hope this makes things a bit less murky.

Rob Quinlan