Tool Use as Adaptation

31-10-2013 by Administrator

Tool Use as Adaptation
The latest issue of the world's first science journal, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, is co-edited by Drs Dora Biro, Michael Haslam and Christian Rutz. Titled 'Tool Use as Adaptation', it features a series of studies on the ways in which humans, our ancestors and other animals use tools to adapt to the world in which they live.
The benefits of tool use have often been assumed to be self-evident: by extending control over our environment, we have increased energetic returns and buffered ourselves from potentially harmful influences. In recent decades, however, the study of tool use in both humans and non-human animals has expanded the way we think about the role of tools in the natural world. This Theme Issue is aimed at bringing together this developing body of knowledge, gathered across multiple species and research disciplines, to chart the wider evolutionary context of this phylogenetically rare behaviour. Contributions examine the costs and benefits of tool use, the existence of anatomical and cognitive adaptations to tool use, phylogenetic patterns in the distribution of tool-use behaviours in different taxa and across different biomes, ecological factors that contribute to the presence and modes of tool use exhibited by different species, developmental trajectories of skills, and the study of the tools themselves. These multi-facetted perspectives combine to aid our understanding of the evolutionary origins, present-day maintenance and transmission, and cultural modification of tool-using behaviours.
The issue is available at Royal Society Publishing , and all articles are free to access until 30 November 2013.

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