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Folk Physics for ApesThe Chimpanzee's theory of how the world works$
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Daniel Povinelli

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780198572190

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198572190.001.0001

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The tool-insertion problem: the question of shape

The tool-insertion problem: the question of shape

Folk Physics for Apes

Daniel J. Povinelli

Laura A. Teall

James E. Reaux

Steve Giambrone

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on just one of the causal relations involved in the interaction between the fishing tool and the substrate in and around which it must operate: namely, the size/configuration of the end of the tool and the opening in the termite mound into which it is inserted. The study addressed this issue by asking whether chimpanzees possess an explicit understanding of this kind of relation. In order to do so, researchers created a simple context to elicit chimpanzees' use of a straight tool to probe at a food reward through an opening. Next, it presented them with various tools as options, and examined the micro-genesis of their discovery of which tools to use, as well as how to use them.

Keywords:   causal relations, micro-genesis, termite mound

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