The Elements of Evolution (76) Expression


Language is necessarily symbolic – a honeybee dancing directions to her hive mates is exemplary. Cleaner fish symbolically advertise their services to other fish, who reply with their own symbolic gestures.

Animals in the wild create their own artistic flourishes in their constructions. Male bowerbirds build an elaborate stage displaying personalized preferences of materials, upon which they perform to prospective mates elaborate dances of their own design: art as a display of vitality.

Like the primates before them, the earliest hominids expressed themselves by body language, gestures, and vocalizations. With opposable thumbs and increasingly versatile vocal cords, hominids evolved the means to give symbolism and creative expression fuller flower. Hominid language developed alongside adaptive refinements in symbolic manipulation and its articulation, culminating in writing.

Complex toolmaking and language coevolved. ~ English anthropologist Natalie Thaïs Uomini & English psychologist Georg Friedrich Meyer

The same areas of the brain are active during language processing and toolmaking. Both share conceptual similarities, such as the need for structured planning. Language skill and dexterity with tools co-develop in young children.

Chimpanzees are identically constrained over complexity in both tool use and language. Their performance in both areas are those of a 2-year-old child.

As products of materials science, technology and artistic expression are inseparably intertwined. Both advanced as stone and metal work progressed. Their only distinction is utility: as a tool or for an individualized statement.