Of Apes and Tools: Insights into the Evolution of Technology

Kathelijne Koops (Zurich University)

June 26, 2024, 11:30–12:30


Room Auditorium 4 (First floor - TSE Building)

IAST General Seminar


Complex technology is a defining feature of modern humans. Our technological innovations have reshaped our planet and changed the impact of evolutionary forces upon our lives. Despite the significance of human technology, the evolutionary origin of this complex use of tools is not well understood. Comparative research is crucial to determining the evolutionary forces which prompted differences in technological skill to emerge and diverge among humans and other species. In this talk, Prof Kathelijne Koops will discuss her research that investigates the drivers of tool use in our ape cousins. First, she will introduce you to research at her chimpanzee study site in the Nimba Mountains, Guinea. Next, she will discuss her comparative work on the two species of apes most closely related to humans, the (tool-using) chimpanzee and the (non tool-using) bonobo. Lastly, she will introduce you to her ongoing research project which investigates the drivers of tool use across all the African apes (chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas) and humans.