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Independent evolution of similar complex cognitive skills : the importance of embodied degrees of freedom

Osvath, Mathias LU ; Kabadayi, Can LU and Jacobs, Ivo LU (2014) In Animal behavior and cognition 1(3). p.249-264
Abstract
Recent years have seen acknowledgment from a number of researchers that similarities appear to exist in complex cognitive skills of distantly related species – most notably in corvids, parrots, delphinids, and great apes. Discoveries on complex cognitive skills in common hold the promise of interesting and fruitful new perspectives on cognition. That said, some theoretical approaches seem largely to be lacking. We draw attention to the importance of pre-existing constraints on and freedoms of the evolving animal, which might prove as important as external selective pressures in understanding the evolution of cognition. To elucidate our point, we briefly describe one contemporary cognitive-science approach to cognition. Accounts on... (More)
Recent years have seen acknowledgment from a number of researchers that similarities appear to exist in complex cognitive skills of distantly related species – most notably in corvids, parrots, delphinids, and great apes. Discoveries on complex cognitive skills in common hold the promise of interesting and fruitful new perspectives on cognition. That said, some theoretical approaches seem largely to be lacking. We draw attention to the importance of pre-existing constraints on and freedoms of the evolving animal, which might prove as important as external selective pressures in understanding the evolution of cognition. To elucidate our point, we briefly describe one contemporary cognitive-science approach to cognition. Accounts on cognitive evolution both in behavioral ecology and animal cognition are often hampered by simplistic input-output-based views on cognition. Cognition – in particular complex cognition – may influence animal behaviors in ways that cannot be captured by a purely selectionist account. We discuss the evolutionary processes underlying independently evolved yet similar characters. We highlight the importance of the difference between parallel and convergent evolution in understanding whether complex cognition arises repeatedly only through similar selective pressures; or whether underlying, previously evolved structures are crucial for the occurrence of cognitive similarities. In conclusion we suggest that the developmental sequences leading to apparently similar cognitive skills require further investigation to reveal the evolutionary processes behind them. Our aim is not one of providing ultimate answers to the questions we raise; instead, we draw attention to their existence, the better that they may be addressed. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Convergent evolution, Embodied cognition, Animal cognition, Complex cognition
in
Animal behavior and cognition
volume
1
issue
3
pages
249 - 264
publisher
Sciknow Publications Ltd.
ISSN
2372-5052
DOI
10.12966/abc.08.03.2014
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
78ce9afc-adc2-47d1-90aa-2d7ca0d38dec (old id 4648066)
alternative location
http://abc.sciknow.org/archive_20140303.html
date added to LUP
2014-09-24 09:43:29
date last changed
2016-04-15 17:21:54
@article{78ce9afc-adc2-47d1-90aa-2d7ca0d38dec,
  abstract     = {Recent years have seen acknowledgment from a number of researchers that similarities appear to exist in complex cognitive skills of distantly related species – most notably in corvids, parrots, delphinids, and great apes. Discoveries on complex cognitive skills in common hold the promise of interesting and fruitful new perspectives on cognition. That said, some theoretical approaches seem largely to be lacking. We draw attention to the importance of pre-existing constraints on and freedoms of the evolving animal, which might prove as important as external selective pressures in understanding the evolution of cognition. To elucidate our point, we briefly describe one contemporary cognitive-science approach to cognition. Accounts on cognitive evolution both in behavioral ecology and animal cognition are often hampered by simplistic input-output-based views on cognition. Cognition – in particular complex cognition – may influence animal behaviors in ways that cannot be captured by a purely selectionist account. We discuss the evolutionary processes underlying independently evolved yet similar characters. We highlight the importance of the difference between parallel and convergent evolution in understanding whether complex cognition arises repeatedly only through similar selective pressures; or whether underlying, previously evolved structures are crucial for the occurrence of cognitive similarities. In conclusion we suggest that the developmental sequences leading to apparently similar cognitive skills require further investigation to reveal the evolutionary processes behind them. Our aim is not one of providing ultimate answers to the questions we raise; instead, we draw attention to their existence, the better that they may be addressed.},
  author       = {Osvath, Mathias and Kabadayi, Can and Jacobs, Ivo},
  issn         = {2372-5052},
  keyword      = {Convergent evolution,Embodied cognition,Animal cognition,Complex cognition},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {249--264},
  publisher    = {Sciknow Publications Ltd.},
  series       = {Animal behavior and cognition},
  title        = {Independent evolution of similar complex cognitive skills : the importance of embodied degrees of freedom},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.12966/abc.08.03.2014},
  volume       = {1},
  year         = {2014},
}