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The authors of the 19 chapters are well-qualified in terms of scholarship and areas of interest. It also pays special attention to the rare and endangered bonobo Pan paniscus , although not to the degree that it could: more attention is needed to ensure successful development of the challenge undertaken by this volume.

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From a comparative perspective, they provide a concise summary of great ape patterns of anatomy; life histories; diet and foraging; social organization and mating; temperaments; cognition; tool use; imitation, self-awareness and mirror self-recognition; language and iconicity; deception; and play, socialization, and enculturation. Gener- ally, the conclusions emphasize similarities of the above itemized patterns for the great apes.


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Salient differences among and between the ape genera are also noted, lest the reader incorrectly conclude that they all had the same course of selective pressures and evolution. Throughout the book, the importance of early environment as a parameter of behavior, competence, cognition, problem solving, tooling, temperament, and language received emphasis, but not to the degree that it merits.

Early rearing and environment may indeed be so critical to all primate development that it is inappropriate to continue to reference nonhuman primates as gorillas, orangutans, lesser apes, or monkeys. Within each taxon, not only might there be a variety of genetic themes or lineages yet to be clearly defined and understood, there surely are profound and lasting differences as a direct function of early environment and socialization, rearing patterns, and diet during the course of matura- tion.

Comparative aspects of mirror self-recognition in great apes.

Research on ape language abilities serves to emphasize the critical determining powers of early rearing and environment. Gorillas born into social captive groups mature into different gorillas from ones in the wild.

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Orangutans born into the small and inappropriate confines of most laboratories, zoos, and roadside animal exhibits simply are not like individuals in the wild. Apes born in the better zoos are, in turn, simply cannot be equated with apes in the wild. Apes reared or enculturated or both by humans can differ greatly as a direct function of the humans and the patterns by which people for them.

Thus, we must be very cautious about summaries and clades that lump apes and their behaviors by their most salient differences, i. Still another risk all too frequently run is for an author, intentionally or not, to draw defining differences between ape taxa.

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For instance, a wide variety of conclusions have been argued about lack of self-awareness and mirror self-recognition in gorillas. Untoward emphasis has been placed on mirror self-recognition as a boundary separating gorillas from the other great apes. The intelligence and mentality of gorillas has been, in a sense, insulted and unfairly so.

Sensitive students and caregivers of gorillas know full well that gorillas have it all. Whether scientists can measure it is another issue. I am willing to conclude that the data on mirror self-recognition from even one gorilla, Koko, is sufficient to fend off any conclusion to the contrary. That other gorillas, or even that gorillas generally, do not evidence self-recognition should bring attention to the defining characteristics of the parameters of mirror self-recognition, perhaps in interaction with early rearing and socialization.

The emphasis should be on the probabil- ity of a phenomenon being manifested within a given taxon. The readiness of authors to define impermeable boundaries between taxa should be tem- pered even further by the fact that the absence of proof is never to be taken as proof of absence. That apes cannot do something is more likely than not to be embarrassed by improved questioning and new methods of inquiry. The excellence of this text notwithstanding, it would be substan- tially stronger had there been strong caveats given along with the treatises skillfully developed by these able scholars.

Here and there, I found significant deletions or oversights of valued references of research and scholarship. Recognition was not given in suffi- cient measure to other sterling attempts to formulate behavioral and cogni- tive clades for the great apes.

There has been other systematic and highly relevant laboratory research with gorillas and orangutans to assess their intellectual abilities in comparison with the chimpanzee and lesser apes. More salient incorporation of highly significant and relevant programmatic field research by foreign researchers would have made the efforts under- taken by this text even more successful. The foregoing notwithstanding, the editors and authors have made a substantive and highly valuable contri- bution to our understand of the great apes at an important juncture in time, i.

Review '… this book contains much valuable information on gorillas' and orang-utans' mental life. Anderson, The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Book Description Gorillas and orangutans are closely related to humans, but their mental abilities have been largely neglected in attempts to understand how our intelligence might have evolved. To get the free app, enter mobile phone number. See all free Kindle reading apps. Don't have a Kindle?

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