humans are just big simians

The traits that we consider quintessentially human are not traits that no other animals possess. We have them in a more intense form, and in some cases that’s pushed some things over a boundary to where they can be applied widely; this exaptation is one of the most common feature of evolution.

Let’s take our purportedly remarkable cognitive abilities. It seems fairly clear to me that our ability to cogitate is essentially a reified version of Machiavellian Intelligence, that intelligence that all simians posess that allow them to act in a social environment.

Essentially, it is my supposition that humans are incapable of thinking about anything that isn’t a “person”. At a basic level, our basic cognitive unit utilizes the same basic relational and ‘atomic’ model that simians use to understand their position in their social groups and work to increase their relative advantage.

This happily explains many things that have been puzzling me: The utter pervasiveness of anthropomorphization even in places where it is obviously irrelevant (like particle physics); anthropomorphization as a major explanatory approach – “the molecule wants to bind to this reigon”, “So the user walks up to the session object and hands it its key”; and the remarkable ability for people to believe things that have no emperical basis.

2 thoughts on “humans are just big simians

  1. much work has been done recently investigating how animals have ‘culture’.
    previously people said that an argument that humans are ‘special’ as compared to other animals is that they have ‘culture’. now ppl are showing that culture as previously defined, however useful that definition was, can be demonstrated in non human animals such as other primates and birds. i heard about book about this on public radio but right now i dont have time to find a reference. silly humans.

  2. My pet turtle recognizes me, and even though she is not a mammal she sometimes understands her name. If humans are so special, why do we anthropomorphize everything and have been looking at Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Garfield the cat, Pearls Before Swine…

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