Which shows how number sense evolved? Forget them. In “Geometry skills are innate, Amazon tribe study suggests,” (BBC News , 24 May 2011), Jason Palmer reports ,
Tests given to an Amazonian tribe called the Mundurucu suggest that our intuitions about geometry are innate.Researchers examined how the Mundurucu think about lines, points and angles, comparing the results with equivalent tests on French and US schoolchildren.
The Mundurucu showed comparable understanding, and even outperformed the students on tasks that asked about forms on spherical surfaces.
It got better:
Most surprisingly, the Mundurucu actually outperformed their western counterparts when the tests were moved from a flat surface to that of a sphere (the Mundurucu were presented with a calabash to demonstrate).
They even grasped non-Euclidean geometry.
Rube shouts in: So, thanks to the long, slow evolution of advanced number concepts in humans, driven by Darwin’s sexual selection, we now have French people who perform about as well as aboriginal people who don’t even use numbers …
Aboriginal rube: Shuddup, will you? We’ve been stealing those goofs blind for years, and the last thing we need is for them to find out that we know exactly what we’re doing. I’m learning about Darwinism so I know how to act when they come round again.
File under: Darwin spin urgently needed. Also under: Stasis