Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Biol Sci. 2009 May 7;276(1662):1671-7. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2008.1754. Epub 2009 Feb 25.

The evolution of primate visual self-recognition: evidence of absence in lesser apes.

Author information

1
School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia. t.suddendorf@psy.uq.edu.au

Abstract

Mirror self-recognition typically emerges in human children in the second year of life and has been documented in great apes. In contrast to monkeys, humans and great apes can use mirrors to inspect unusual marks on their body that cannot be seen directly. Here we show that lesser apes (family Hylobatidae) fail to use the mirror to find surreptitiously placed marks on their head, in spite of being strongly motivated to retrieve directly visible marks from the mirror surface itself and from their own limbs. These findings suggest that the capacity for visual self-recognition evolved in a common ancestor of all great apes after the split from the line that led to modern lesser apes approximately 18 Myr ago. They also highlight the potential of a comparative approach for identifying the neurological and genetic underpinnings of self-recognition and other higher cognitive faculties.

PMID:
19324830
PMCID:
PMC2660989
DOI:
10.1098/rspb.2008.1754
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center