Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary

Childhood and advances in human tool use

Mark Nielsena1

a1 School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld 4072, Australia.


Human life history incorporates childhood, a lengthy post-weaning period of dependency. This species-specific period provides an opportunity for extensive learning and for sophisticated cultural behaviors to develop, including crucial tool use skills. Although I agree that no individual cognitive trait singularly differentiates humans from other animals, I suggest here that without childhood, the traits that are key to human tool use would not emerge.

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