Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary

Evidence of recursion in tool use

Lluís Barceló-Coblijna1 and Antoni Gomilaa1

a1 Human Evolution and Cognition Group, University of the Balearic Islands, 07122 Palma.


We discuss the discovery of technologies involving knotted netting, such as textiles, basketry, and cordage, in the Upper Paleolithic. This evidence, in our view, suggests a new way of connecting toolmaking and syntactic structure in human evolution, because these technologies already exhibit an “infinite use of finite means,” which we take to constitute the key transition to human cognition.

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