In the search for the functional homology of human imitation: Take play seriously!

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (5):699-700 (1998)
Abstract
I will argue that we cannot understand imitation unless we know more about its function. By comparing the two examples presented by Byrne & Russon I show how the imitative behaviour of orangutans can be interpreted as a homologue of human imitation during play. In contrast, the lack of data leave the role of imitation in gorillas doubtful.
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