Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary
Byrne & Russon: Learning by imitation

In the search for the functional homology of human imitation: Take play seriously!

Ádám Miklósi a1
a1 Department of Ethology, Eötvös University, Göd, H-2131 Hungary


I will argue that we cannot understand imitation unless we know more about its function. By comparing the two examples presented by Byrne & Russon I show how the imitative behaviour of orangutans can be interpreted as a homologue of human imitation during play. In contrast, the lack of data leave the role of imitation in gorillas doubtful.