Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary

Genetic assimilation of behaviour does not eliminate learning and innovation

Gavin R. Hunta1 and Russell D. Graya1

a1 Department of Psychology, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand.


Ramsey et al. attempt to clarify methodological issues for identifying innovative behaviour. Their effort is seriously weakened by an underlying presumption that the behavior of primates is generally learned and that of non-primates is generally “innate.” This presumption is based on a poor grasp of the non-primate literature and a flawed understanding of how learned behaviour is genetically assimilated.

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