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This text describes how human ancestors reached the point in cognitive evolution from which the evolution of modern humans was possible. Rather than speculating about the mental abilities of fossil hominids, on the basis of modern human psychology, the author explores earlier phases of evolution, with the more solid and testable evidence of human ancestry that is still alive: modern primates and other animals.
1. Introduction: The Limits of Fossil Evidence
2. Taxonomy and the Reconstruction of Evolution
3. What is Intelligence and What is it For?
4. How Animals Learn
5. Why Animals Learn Better in Social Groups
6. Imitative Behavior in Animals
7. Understanding How Things Work
8. Understanding Minds: Doing and Seeing, Knowing and Thinking
9. What Use is a Theory of Mind?
10. Planning and Thinking Ahead
11. Apes and Language
12. Food for Thought
13. Machiavellian Intelligence
14. Testing the Theories
15. Taking Stock