Re: ev. of intelligence tools etc

Tue, 7 Mar 1995 12:16:20 CST

I applaud the spirit in which R. Quinlan offers specific hypotheses
linking encephalization to tool use; I think, however, that
hypothesizing direct associations between new tools and--what,
abrupt?--increases in brain size is not really fair to the tool-use
theory. Don't we know enough about the ineliigence even of monkeys to
state that they are capable of inventing new techniques abruptly without
brain growth? Don't we know enough about hominid encephalization to
state that it was often--probably typically--gradual rather than abrupt?
Again, I note that hominid evolution reveals, *overall*, great
encephalization and greatly improved tools. The correlation is general,
not specific. To hypothesize highly specific temporal coincidences
between discretely new and "better" tools, and sudden brain expansions
seems to me not to do justice to what we already know about cultural
evolution's short-term freedom from organic evolutionary change, and
about the more or less gradual way the human brain expanded. Again, let
us beware of reifying so-called chronospecies into clearly bounded
entities! --Bob Graber