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Kim Hugh John Shaw-Williams
Australian National University
  1. The Social Trackways Theory of the Evolution of Human Cognition.Kim Shaw-Williams - 2014 - Biological Theory 9 (1):1-11.
    Only our lineage has ever used trackways reading to find unseen and unheard targets. All other terrestrial animals, including our great ape cousins, use scent trails and airborne odors. Because trackways as natural signs have very different properties, they possess an information-rich narrative structure. There is good evidence we began to exploit conspecific trackways in our deep past, at first purely associatively, for safety and orienteering when foraging in vast featureless wetlands. Since our own old trackways were recognizable they were (...)
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    The Social Trackways Theory of the Evolution of Language.Kim Shaw-Williams - 2017 - Biological Theory 12 (4):195-210.
    The social trackways theory is centered on the remarkable 3.66 mya Laetoli Fossilized Trackways, for they incontrovertibly reveal our ancestors were already obligate bipeds with very human-like feet, and were intentionally stepping in other band members’ footprints to maintain safe footing. Trackways are unique among natural sign systems in possessing a depictive narratively generative structure, somewhat like the symbolic sign systems of gestural languages. Therefore, due to daily embodied reiteration of their own and other band member’s old footprints, both for (...)
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