To most people it seems obvious that there are major mental differences between ourselves and other species, but there is considerable debate over exactly how special our minds are, in what respects, and which were the critical evolutionary events that have shaped us. Some researchers claim language as a solely human, even defining, attribute, while others claim that only humans are truly conscious. These questions have been explored mainly by archaeologists and anthropologists until recently, but this volume aims to show what psychologists have to say on the evolution of mind.
The book begins with a thorough overview of what is known of the non-primate mind and its evolution. Following this, an international range of experts discuss in temporal sequence the human mind at various stages of evolution, beginning with the pre-hominids of 20 million years ago and ending with contemporary human behavior. Accessible to students and researchers alike in psychology, anthropology, evolution, archaeology, and ethology, The Descent of Mind provides a range of provocative answers to the timeless question of what it means to be human.