Stone tools and the uniqueness of human culture

Iain Davidson*, William C. Mcgrew

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


There is growing evidence that some species other than the human have behaviour that should be called cultural. Questions arise, then, of how human (and, perhaps, ape) cultures are different from those of other animals and how they have become so different. Human cultures are creative, generating new patterns of behaviour from those learned from others. Stone tool making provided a niche for the recruitment of tools and tool-making processes from one function to another. This is something not yet recorded for apes. This article explores the possible role of stone tools in the emergence of this creativity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)793-817
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2005


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