CARTA - Comparative Anthropogeny - Exploring The Human-Ape Paradox

This symposium explores the Human Ape-Paradox, examines humans as a uniquely evolved, "biologically enculturated" species juxtaposed to our closest living relatives, the "great apes" (chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans). By definition, each species is unique as it represents the outcome of independent evolution. Yet, humans appear to be a remarkable outlier as we have numerous characteristics so far undescribed in any other primate. Why should this be? Unlike other species, the evident animal nature of humans is interwoven with a distinctly human cultural fabric, forming the paradox of "biological enculturation": a species that is both "biologically cultural" and "culturally biological". In humans, "biological enculturation" is so pervasive that disentangling the cultural and biological components is impossible.

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