Human intelligence appears to be unique in the biological world, but how did it arise? Its very existence raises two fascinating and difficult questions. What evolutionary factors have given rise to human intelligence? How great is the discontinuity between the mental life of humans and that of other animals? Two recently published studies provide important new data relevant to the evolution of human intelligence. Both studies of social behavior in baboons, Bergman et al. demonstrated that baboons use two criteria simultaneously to classify other troop members, and Silk et al. showed that highly social female baboons have higher reproductive success than less social females. Taken together, these studies provide strong evidence for the importance of social context in cognitive evolution.
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