The  EVOLUTION  of  MORALITY IMAGE 19-1   
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Concept/Content learning / chimpanzee demonstrating for another how to crack hard panda nuts with a stone hammer on a natural anvil
Information caption One chimpanzee demonstrates for another how to crack hard panda nuts with a stone hammer on a natural anvil. This is not just tool use, but also teaching and learning. The behavior is not innate, or closed, with narrow predetermined stimulus-response patterns. Appropriate neural structures make learning is possible. The flexibility afforded by learning allows organisms to respond to local environments, which may change during an organism's lifetime or vary from organism to organism within the same species. Evolution may thus favor the brain's potential for behavioral plasticity and for placing "values" on certain responses. Moral behavior or immoral behavior may be partly (or even largely) learned and shaped by local social environments. A focus on neural processes, especially in contrast to genetics, underscores the importance of open behavioral programs.
Inquiry caption Here, one chimpanzee demonstrates for another how to crack hard panda nuts with a stone hammer on a natural anvil. This is not just tool use, but also teaching and learning. How does this differ from innate behavior? [Clarify closed vs. open behavioral programs.]
What potential benefits does learning [or open behavior programs] bestow, in contrast to innate behaviors? How will this affect the evolution of neural structures that enable learning?
How might this apply to moral behavior? Which aspects of human moral behavior seem primarily learned, which primarily innate? What evidence do we have to make these judgments?
Target Concept: Moral behaviors may be learned as part of an open behavioral program.
Photographer Christophe Boesch, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
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SIZE in pixels [file size] 680x521

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