Cross-Modality Information Transfer: A Hypothesis about the Relationship among Prehistoric Cave Paintings, Symbolic Thinking, and the Emergence of Language


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Cross-Modality Information Transfer: A Hypothesis about the Relationship among Prehistoric Cave Paintings, Symbolic Thinking, and the Emergence of Language

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Cross-Modality Information Transfer: A Hypothesis about the Relationship among Prehistoric Cave Paintings, Symbolic Thinking, and the Emergence of Language
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Front. Psychol.
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Miyagawa, Shigeru
Lesure, Cora
Nóbrega, Vitor A.
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Symbolic Thinking ( local )
Language ( local )
Cave Art ( local )
Archeoacoustics ( local )
Khoisan ( local )
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Early modern humans developed mental capabilities that were immeasurably greater than those of non-human primates. We see this in the rapid innovation in tool making, the development of complex language, and the creation of sophisticated art forms, none of which we find in our closest relatives. While we can readily observe the results of this high-order cognitive capacity, it is difficult to see how it could have developed. We take up the topic of cave art and archeoacoustics, particularly the discovery that cave art is often closely connected to the acoustic properties of the cave chambers in which it is found. Apparently, early modern humans were able to detect the way sound reverberated in these chambers, and they painted artwork on surfaces that were acoustic “hot spots,” i.e., suitable for generating echoes. We argue that cave art is a form of cross-modality information transfer, in which acoustic signals are transformed into symbolic visual representations. This form of information transfer across modalities is an instance of how the symbolic mind of early modern humans was taking shape into concrete, externalized language. We also suggest that the earliest rock art found in Africa may constitute one of the first fossilized proxies for the expression of full-fledged human linguistic behavior.
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Front. Psychol., Vol. 9 (2018-02-20).

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fpsyg-09-00115February9,2018Time:13:23#1 PERSPECTIVE published:20February2018 doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00115 Editedby: GuillaumeThierry, BangorUniversity,UnitedKingdom Reviewedby: WendySandler, UniversityofHaifa,Israel PatriciaSchneider-Zioga, CaliforniaStateUniversity,Fullerton, UnitedStates *Correspondence: ShigeruMiyagawa miyagawa@mit.edu Specialtysection: Thisarticlewassubmittedto LanguageSciences, asectionofthejournal FrontiersinPsychology Received: 30July2017 Accepted: 24January2018 Published: 20February2018 Citation: MiyagawaS,LesureCand NbregaVACross-Modality InformationTransfer:AHypothesis abouttheRelationshipamong PrehistoricCavePaintings,Symbolic Thinking,andtheEmergence ofLanguage.Front.Psychol.9:115. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00115 Cross-ModalityInformationTransfer: AHypothesisabouttheRelationship amongPrehistoricCavePaintings, SymbolicThinking,andthe EmergenceofLanguage ShigeruMiyagawa 1,2 * ,CoraLesure 1 andVitorA.Nbrega 3 1 DepartmentofLinguisticsandPhilosophy,MassachusettsInstituteofTechnology,Cambridge,MA,UnitedStates, 2 Center forResearchandDevelopmentofHigherEducation,TheUniversityofTokyo,Tokyo,Japan, 3 DepartmentofLinguistics, UniversityofSoPaulo,SoPaulo,Brazil Earlymodernhumansdevelopedmentalcapabilitiesthatwereimmeasurablygreater thanthoseofnon-humanprimates.Weseethisintherapidinnovationintoolmaking, thedevelopmentofcomplexlanguage,andthecreationofsophisticatedartforms, noneofwhichwendinourclosestrelatives.Whilewecanreadilyobservetheresults ofthishigh-ordercognitivecapacity,itisdifculttoseehowitcouldhavedeveloped. Wetakeupthetopicofcaveartandarcheoacoustics,particularlythediscoverythat caveartisoftencloselyconnectedtotheacousticpropertiesofthecavechambers inwhichitisfound.Apparently,earlymodernhumanswereabletodetecttheway soundreverberatedinthesechambers,andtheypaintedartworkonsurfacesthatwere acoustic“hotspots,”i.e.,suitableforgeneratingechoes.Wearguethatcaveartisa formofcross-modalityinformationtransfer,inwhichacousticsignalsaretransformed intosymbolicvisualrepresentations.Thisformofinformationtransferacrossmodalities isaninstanceofhowthesymbolicmindofearlymodernhumanswastakingshape intoconcrete,externalizedlanguage.Wealsosuggestthattheearliestrockartfoundin Africamayconstituteoneoftherstfossilizedproxiesfortheexpressionoffull-edged humanlinguisticbehavior. Keywords:symbolicthinking,language,caveart,archeoacoustics,Khoisan INTRODUCTION Anextraordinarytraitthathumanshave,onethatseparatesusfromallotherlivingbeings, isour“uniquesymboliccognitivestyle”Tattersall,2017.AsthephilosopherErnstCassirer noted,humansarenotthe animalrationale butthe animalsymbolicum Cassirer,2006,p.31. Althoughotheranimalsarecapableofchallengingcognitivebehavior—forinstance,thecrow's abilitytomakesticktoolsBluetal.,2007,andtheapparentsymbolicallymediatedbehaviorof lateNeanderthalpopulationsJaubertetal.,2016—thehumancapacityforsymbolicthinking isimmeasurablygreaterandqualitativelydistinct,somuchsothatCharlesDarwinhimself commented,“thedierencebetweenthemindofthelowestmanandthatofthehighestanimal isimmense”Darwin,1871,p.100.AlfredRusselWallace,aco-discovererofevolutionbynatural selection,wasparticularlypuzzledbecausehedidnotseetangibleevolutionaryadvantagesto FrontiersinPsychology|www.frontiersin.org 1 February2018|Volume9|Article115

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fpsyg-09-00115February9,2018Time:13:23#2 Miyagawaetal. Cross-ModalityInformationTransfer theproductsofthisuniquecapacityforsymbolicthinking,such asmusicandtheartsWallace,1870.Assumingthatearlyhuman symbolicbehaviorcanbereadfromthearcheologicalrecord,we exploretheemergenceofcaveandrockartinhumanevolution andassessitsrelationtothedevelopmentofhumanlanguage. WHENDIDSYMBOLICTHINKING APPEAR? Whendidweacquirethiscognitivecapacityforsymbolic thinking? 1 Theanswertothisquestionmustnecessarilybebased onindirectevidence,sincewedonothaveaccesstofactsabout thevariabilityandheritabilityofthistraitLewontin,1998. Supposeweequatehighcognitiveabilitywithbrainsize.The hominidbrainhasbeengrowingfor2millionyears,doublingin sizetwiceduringthatperiodHollowayetal.,2004,withmodern humansattheendofthelineshowingthehighestencephalization quotientFinlay,2009.However,Neanderthalshadabrainthat waslargerinvolumethanhumansHolloway,1981.Evenafter discountingforthedisproportionatesizeoftheareadedicatedto visualperceptionPearceetal.,2013,theirbrainsizewasstill comparabletothatofmodernhumans.Yettheydidnotdevelop thekindsofbehavior,suchasagricultureandlanguage,thatwe associatewithhighcognitiveabilityTattersall,2008,2010. Istheresomethingelseinhumanevolutionaryhistorythat wouldindicatesomedrasticandqualitativechangeinbehavior, signalingtheemergenceofsymbolicthinking?Tattersall2008, 2012,2016a,b,2017makesanintriguingobservationaboutthe paceoftechnologicalinnovation.Therststone-tooltechnology appeared2.5millionyearsagoSemawetal.,1997,andit stayedbasicallythesameforamillionyearsbeforeinnovation wasintroducedintheformoftheAcheuleanhandaxe.Another millionyearswentbybeforeasignicantinnovationtookplace, intheformofcorepreparation.Inotherwords,innovationwas rareandinterspersedwithlongstretchesduringwhichhardly anychangeoccurred.ButtowardtheendofthePleistocene, aprofoundshiftoccurred:technologicalinnovationsbeganto appearinrapidprogression,andthismarkeda“relatively abruptandqualitativechangeinmentalinformationprocessing” Tattersall,2017,p.5.Thiseraofrapidchangecorresponds approximatelytomarkersofsymbolicthinking,suchasthe piecesofengravedochresHenshilwoodetal.,2002andthe marinepiercedshellsHenshilwoodetal.,2004;d'Erricoetal., 2005foundatBlombosCave,whichhavebeendatedback toaround70,000,000yearsago. 2 Theseconstitutethe 1 Weunderstandsymbolicthinkingasaninternalizedabstractmodeofreasoning capableofcombiningisolatedsymbolicrepresentationsintoanarrayofstructured meaningfulexpressions.Althoughmanyaspectsofhumansymbolicabilities oughttobetracedbackfromdierentanimalspeciestosomecommonancestor CheneyandSeyfarth,1990;Zuberbhleretal.,1999;Hauser,2001;Spelke,2003; Carruthers,2006;Hurford,2007,amongothers,noneoftheseaspectsdependon thecombinatorialmentalalgorithmresponsibleforgivingrisetothedistinctively humansymbolicmodeofthinkingDeacon,1997;Hauseretal.,2002;Spelke,2003; Hauser,2009;Searle,2009. 2 Thesemarineshellswerepresumablypiercedaspartofasymbolicornamentation systemHenshilwoodetal.,2004.Bodyornamentationmayhavedierent interpretationsindierenthumansocieties,butallsuchartifactsareeminently rstarcheologicalproxiessignalingthexationofthehuman languagefacultyHuijbregts,2017. BEGINNINGSOFSYMBOLICTHINKING Anoften-notedearlypieceofevidenceforsymbolicthinkingis thetwoslabsofochrefromtheBlombosCaveinSouthAfrica. Ochreisaniron-richmineralthatservedseveralroles,including bodydecoration,alongwithmoreutilitarianrolesWatts,2009; Hansen,2011.InBlombosCave,morethan8,000piecesof ochre-likematerialhavebeenfoundRossoetal.,2017.Some, likethosein Figure1 ,havegeometricengravingsandincisions. Ithasbeensuggestedthattheseregularpatternsareaproxyfor symbolicthinkingHenshilwoodetal.,2002;Tattersall,2009. 3 Theideaisthattheochreengravingsareanexternal,abstract representationofinternalhigh-ordercognitiveprocesses.Thisis similartospokenlanguage,whichisanexternalformofhighly complexinternalcognitiverepresentationsandcomputation. AlthoughNeanderthalsproducedetchingsRodrguez-Vidal etal.,2014andgeometricstructuresJaubertetal.,2016, theyapparentlydidnotpossessthecognitivecapabilitiesthat modernhumansdoTattersall,2008,2010;Mendezetal.,2016; Sankararamanetal.,2016;Vernotetal.,2016. 4 Themechanisms forthisheightenedcognitioninvolvecomputationalprocesses thatmayalsooccurinotheranimalsbutthatinhumans“are uniquelypowerfulintheirrange,capacityandexibility”Heyes, 2012. 5 LIFEINTHECAVES Therapidinnovationintoolmakingandtheproduction oftheBlombosCaveochresandpiercedshellssuggestthat modernhumansbyaround100,000yearsagowereabletotap somecognitiveresourcethathadnotexistedbefore.Wewill lookatawell-knownphenomenonthatheretoforehasbeen sparselyconsideredasexemplifyingsymbolicthinking.Thisis thephenomenonofcaveandrockart,whichisfoundonevery majorcontinentoccupiedbymodernhumansBahnandFossati, 1995,2003;Bahnetal.,2008,2012.Wewishtounderstandthe natureoftheexpressionsofsymbolicthinkinginherentinthese artifactsasawaytobegintounderstandtheevolutionaryprocess symbolicVanhaeren,2005;Vanhaerenandd'Errico,2006;KuhnandStiner,2007 andanarcheologicalproxyforthepresenceofasymbolicallymediatedbehavior d'ErricoandVanhaeren,2009. 3 Seealsod'Erricoetal.2001,HenshilwoodandDubreuil2009,Mourreetal. 2010. 4 Itisalsoworthmentioningthatalthoughapescanunderstandreferentialsymbols RumbaughandWashburn,2003;Tomaselloetal.,2005anddevelopcultural traditionsWhiten,2005,theydonotspontaneouslycreatesymbolicsystemsin thewildDeacon,1997;d'ErricoandVanhaeren,2009. 5 Thereareanumberofapproachestotheevolutionarydevelopmentofthehigh cognitivecapacityinhumans.See,forexample,HeyesandFrith2014fora summaryofsomeoftheseapproaches.Somepostulatethathumancognition developedgraduallyoveralongperiod,startingasearlyasbeforethePleistocene. Whilewedonotdoubtthatthebasiccognitivecapacityexistedinearlyhominids, webelievethatthebig“push”thatledtotheuniqueandpervasivesymbolic thinkingofmodernhumansdevelopedmuchlaterinevolution. FrontiersinPsychology|www.frontiersin.org 2 February2018|Volume9|Article115

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fpsyg-09-00115February9,2018Time:13:23#3 Miyagawaetal. Cross-ModalityInformationTransfer FIGURE1| OchresfromtheBlombosCaveEvolutionaryStudiesInstituteUniversityoftheWitwatersrand. thatledtoafullydevelopedsymbolicspecies.Wewillshow thatourndingsabouttheseartifactsparallelaspectsofhuman language. Weproposethatthephenomenonofcaveandrockart plausiblyindicateshowaninternalized“systemofthought” Chomsky,2011,2013,2015,2016,whichpresumably evolvedwiththespeciationofmodern Homosapiens around 200,000yearsagoHuijbregts,2017,mayhavetakenshapeinto concrete,externalizedlanguage.Ifthisturnsouttobetrue,the often-statedideathat“languagedoesnotfossilize”e.g.,Deacon, 1997;Fitch,2010;BerwickandChomsky,2016isnotquite true:piecesofexternalizedlanguagemayturnouttobehidden amongtheartformsproducedbyourearlymodernhuman ancestors. Someofthemoststrikingartifactsfromthelifeofearly humansaretheartformsfoundincavesthroughouttheworld. Someofthemostwell-knownaretheUpperPaleolithicexamples foundinFranceandSpain.Thereareanumberofpuzzling featuresofthiscaveartthatuntilrecentlyescapedanyrational explanation.Thesepictographsandpetroglyphsareoftenfound deepinsideacave,frequentlyininaccessiblelocations.Theytend toclusternarrowlyinonelocation,ignoringnearbysurfacesthat appeartobejustassuitable.Andoverninetypercentofthe guresconsistofhoofedanimalsGourhan-Leroi,1967,1982; Waller,1993a,2006. Asubeldofarcheology,calledarcheoacoustics,hasproduced theideathatcavepaintingsareintimatelyrelatedtotheacoustic natureofthecavechambersRezniko,1987;Reznikoand Dauvois,1988. 6 Homan2014,forexample,usedalaptop 6 Theacoustic-visualcorrelationiswidespreadanditwasfoundinthecavesof Franceviz.,LePortel,Niaux,Isturitz,Arcy-sur-Cure,Font-de-Gaume,Lascaux, Bernifal,amongothers;seeReznikoandDauvois,1988;Waller,1993b;Rezniko, 1995,2006;Dauvois,1996,1999,2005,inthecavesofSpainviz.,LaGarma,El Castillo,LaPasiega,LasChimeneas,TitoBustillo;seeFazendaetal.,2017,andon twoothercontinentsWaller,1993a.Suchdiversityindicatesthatthecorrelation isnotrandom. andloudspeakers“tosweepasinewavetonethroughall audiofrequencies,recordingtheresultstocapturetheacoustic ngerprintofeachspace.”Suchdetailedstudiesofprehistoric sitessupporttheideathatthesubjectmatterandlocationof thepicturesrelatedirectlytotheacousticsofthecavestructure. Waller2002pointsoutthatthepicturesoftenclusterinareas withenhancedacousticproperties.Forinstance,inthedeep cavesofFont-de-GaumeandLascaux,picturesofhoofedanimals suchasbulls,bison,anddeerappearinchambersinwhichthe echoes,resonances,andreverberationcreatedpercussivesounds thatresemblehoofbeats 7 ,asillustratedin Figure2 .Incontrastto this,inchambersthatareacousticallyquiet,onendspicturesof felinesWaller,1993aorsimpledotsandhandprintsHoman, 2014. 8 Thus,acousticsoersacompellingexplanationforthe locationofpaintingsinchambersdeepinsidecaves,because thesechambershavespecialacousticproperties;theclustering ofpaintingsincertainareasofthecavewall,becausethey areacoustic“hotspots”BlesserandSalter,2009;Mattioli etal.,2017;andthepredominanceofhoofedanimalsas thesubjectmatterofthepaintings.Additionally,stalagmites andstalactitesthatringlikeamusicalinstrumentwhen struckhavebeenfoundtobemarkedwithpaintHoman, 2014. Cross-ModalityInformationTransfer Caveart,asanalyzedbyarcheoacoustics,showsaow ofinformationfromonemodalitytoanother:auditory 7 SimilarpatternswereattestedinothercavesitesinFrance,suchasLes Combarelles,Bernifal,Bara-Bahau,andCougnacseeWaller,1993b,foradetailed list. 8 Inarecentarticle,Fazendaetal.2017reportonhighlysophisticatedacoustic teststogetherwithstatisticalanalysisinvecavesinNorthernSpainviz.,La Garma,LasChimeneas,LaPasiega,ElCatillo,andTitoBustillo.Theyfound thatlinesanddotsarelikelytooccurinareasoflowreverberation,whilemotifs ofanimalsandothersuchdepictionsarelikelytooccurinareaswithhigher reverberation. FrontiersinPsychology|www.frontiersin.org 3 February2018|Volume9|Article115

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fpsyg-09-00115February9,2018Time:13:23#4 Miyagawaetal. Cross-ModalityInformationTransfer FIGURE2| CavepaintingofadunhorsefromLascaux,circa15,000BCWikipedia 9 . tovisual.Theauditorymodalityistriggeredbyexternal input—thunder,rocktapping,music—andtheauditory representationismentallytransformedintoexternal,visual representation.Thisisapureformofexternalizedsymbolic thinkingwhereinformationfromonemodalityistransformed intorepresentationinanothermodality.Wespeculate thatthisactivityofinformationtransferacrossmodalities allowedearlyhumanstoenhancetheirabilitytoconvey symbolicthinkingtotheirconspecics,aswellastheir abilitytoprocessacousticandvisualinputassymbolici.e., toassociateacousticandvisualstimulitoagivenmental representation. Basedonthearcheologicalrecordwejustreviewed,the externalizationofthesymbolicmodeofthinkingoccurredsome 100,000yearsago.Itispossiblethatthecognitiveunderpinnings ofsymbolicthinkingappearedatthetimeofthemajorgenetic reorganizationthatresultedinthephysicalentity H.sapiens HenshilwoodandDubreuil,2009,andexternalizationoccurred muchlaterChomsky,2010,2013,2017;Huijbregts,2017. Orexternalizationmayhavebegunclosertotheformation ofthenewcognitivecapacity.Theactivityofcross-modality informationtransferCMITconstitutesonemajoreortto 9 Areviewerobservesthatthisimagemayhaveahierarchicalstructure,which couldpossiblyconnectcavearttolanguage. connecttheinternalizedsystemofthoughttosensorimotor systemscapableofrepresentingandprocessingacousticand visualstimuli. 10 Theideathatanactivitylikecaveart,aformofCMIT, couldhavehadsuchanenormousconsequenceforthe developmentofmodernhumansisplausibleonacoupleof grounds.First,enormouseortwasexpendedover1000sof yearstocreatethisartWaller,2006.Wehypothesizethat theindividualswhowereabletotransformsymbolicthinking intosensorystimuli—likelyprivilegedinthesociety—may havehadahigherrateofreproductivesuccess,thusspreading 10 Thisperspectivediersfromotherapproachestolanguageevolution,suchas Deacon's1997,2012,whichproposesthatthecriticalevolutionarythresholdfor thedevelopmentofhumanlanguagewastheemergenceofsymbolicreference, allegedlyabsentinnon-humananimals.Manyrecentworksonanimalcognition suggestthatthesymbolicrichnesswendinthehumanspeciesisattestedin non-humananimalsCheneyandSeyfarth,1990;Zuberbhleretal.,1999;Hauser, 2001;Spelke,2003;Carruthers,2006;Hurford,2007;Carey,2009;amongothers. Ifthisturnsouttobecorrect,thenitisplausibletoclaim,contrarytoDeacon, thattheemergenceofasystemofthought,ratherthanasemioticinnovation,was thekeyevolutionaryingredientthatledtotheemergenceofhumanlanguage.As Searle2009pointsout,itwassyntax—i.e.,thegenerativeengineunderlyingsuch systemofthought—thatorganizedsemantics,producinganewkindoflogical representationinhumans.Asoftenspeculated,thecomplexityofthissystemof thoughtdidnotemergeincrementally,ratheritwaslikelyfull-edgedfromits verybeginning,eventhoughitwasnotimmediatelyexternalizedDiSciullo,2014; NbregaandMiyagawa,2015. FrontiersinPsychology|www.frontiersin.org 4 February2018|Volume9|Article115

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fpsyg-09-00115February9,2018Time:13:23#5 Miyagawaetal. Cross-ModalityInformationTransfer thecognitiveabilityrequiredforthispracticethroughthe population. 11 Second,thepopulationof H.sapiens earlyonwascompact, around9,000whenitemergedinAfricaGronauetal.,2011. Acognitivemodicationevenamongasmallgroup—viz.,the caveartists—couldhavecutalargeswaththroughthepopulation quickly.Itisnoaccidentthat1000sofcave-artsiteshave beendiscoveredin100sofcountriesBlesserandSalter,2009, indicatingthatanewcognitivecapacityspreadinthehuman populationrapidly.InsouthernAfricaalone,thereareperhaps overamillioncave-artimagesCoulsonandCampbell,2001. 12 But H.sapiens migratedoutofAfricaintotheEurasiancontinent some60,000yearsagoHennetal.,2012a.Itisbelievedthat bythattime,thespeciesalreadyhaditsfullmoderncapacity forsymbolicthinking,includinglanguageHennetal.,2012b. Therefore,CMITasexempliedbycaveartmusthavestartedin AfricabeforethemigrationintotheEurasiancontinent.Weturn tothistopicbelow. 13 SANROCKART TherockartoftheSanpeopleconstitutesevidencethatrockart withCMITpropertiesmayhaveexistedinAfricapriortothe migrationofhumansfromthecontinent. AnatomicallymodernhumansappearedincentralAfrica 200,000yearsago.Gronauetal.2011carriedoutwholegenomesequencingonsixindividualsfromdierentregionsof theworld:aEuropean,aYoruban,aHanChinese,aKorean,a Bantu,andaSan.TheresearchshowsthattheSanpopulation wasthersttosplitfromotherpopulations,andthisoccurred 108,000,000yearsago.TheymovedtosouthwestAfrica, wheretheycontinuetoresidetothepresent.Gronauetal. 11 Itisnotevidentwhoinsocietywascreatingtheseartforms,buttherearecertain characteristicsabouttheplacementoftheartanditscontentthatlendtoindirect claimsaboutartistsandtheirpurposes.Forinstance,therockartofKugpal,south India,islocatedinanareaofverydicultaccess,whichwouldprecludethe engagementoflargegroups.AccordingtoBoivin2004,p.45,thisimpliesthat “theactivitiessurroundingrockartmayhavebeenlimitedtoaparticularsector ofthesociety,”sincenotallmemberscouldequallyparticipateinartproduction andconsumption.Thesamesenseofexclusivityemergeswhenweconsiderthe shamanisticelementsfoundinpaintedcavesandrocks.Suchfeaturestendto supportanassociationoftheseartformswithsacredritualsseeLewis-Williams andDowson,1990;Lewis-Williams,1991,1997;Whitley,1992,1994,1998;Clottes andLewis-Williams,1998;Ryan,1999;Winkelman,2002;Rezniko,2014,which consequentlyleadstothespeculationthattheartistcouldhavebeenhim/herselfa shaman.Settingasidethesespeculationsregardingauthorship,itisreasonableto claimthattheindividualswhowereendowedwiththeabilitytotranslatesymbolic thinkingintosensorystimulimayhavehadreproductiveadvantages. 12 Itisworthmentioningthatthebest-knownexamplesofcaveartarefoundin Europe,datingback40,000yearstotheUpperPaleolithicperiodPikeetal.,2012. 13 ItisimportanttohighlightthattheCMIThypothesisdoesnotruleoutthatother, parallelstrategiesforexternalizingsymbolicthinkingmayhavebeenemployed byearlymodernhumans,suchasmanualgesturesCorballis,2003,2009,2013, pantomimesandimitationArbib,2002,2009,2012,andevensignlanguage ArmstrongandWilcox,2007.Nevertheless,sincewehavetorelyonindirect evidencetotentativelyre-createtheenvironmentinwhichasymbolicmodeof reasoningwasexternalized,thesafestapproachistoelaboratescenariosthatcanbe empiricallyreconstructed.Suchisthecasewiththediscoveriesinarcheoacoustics: thesecanberecreatedbymeansof,forinstance,ambisonicstechnique,whichcan beapplied“toidentifythelikelyuseofecholocationamongsocietiesforwhichno ethnographicinformationremains”Mattiolietal.,2017,p.12. 2011foundthattheEurasianpopulationdivergedfromtherest 38,000,000yearsago,whichmarksthetimethat H.sapiens begantomigrateoutofAfrica. 14 AlongwiththegeneticevidencefortheSan'searlydivergence fromotherhumanpopulations,thereisalsolinguisticevidence. TheSan'slanguagesbelongtotheKhoisanfamily.Allbiologically Khoisangroupsspeakalanguagewithphonemicclicks GldemannandStoneking,2008,whichareconsonantswitha distinctivepoppingsound.Khoisancanbeseenasoneoftheonly languagefamiliesintheworldwithclicksHuijbregts,2017.The onlyotherlanguagefamilyisBantu,butonlyinareasofcontact andintermarriagewithKhoisanpopulations,indicatingthe borrowingofconsonantalclicksintoBantulanguagesHerbert, 2002;Maddieson,2003;SandsabdGldemann,2009. 15 As Huijbregtsnotes,thissuggeststhattheSan,oncetheysplito fromtherestofthehumanpopulation,stayedrelativelyisolated, somethingalsosupportedbythegeneticresearchGronauetal., 2011.Thismeansthatanythingwendinthepopulationmay verywellhavebeentheretobeginwith,possiblyevenbeforethey splitfromotherhumanpopulations. TheSanproducedrockartthathasbeendatedasfarbackas 70,000yearsagoThackeray,2005.Therocksweredecorated becauseitwasbelievedthataspiritworldexistedbeneaththe surfaceLewis-WilliamsandDowson,1990.Wendthistypeof rockartinotherregionsoftheworldaswell,typicallythosewith ananimistictraditionBahnandFossati,1995,2003.Theideaof aspiritworldbehindthesurfaceoftherockcouldcomefromthe acousticpropertyofecho:anacousticsignalisdetecteddespite theabsenceofadirectsourceforitatthepointofthesound. TherearetwoimportantpointsaboutSanrockartandits relationshiptosymbolicthinking.First,thefactthatsomeof therockartpredatesthemigrationoutofAfricagivescredence tothehypothesisthatCMITisanexampleoftheexpressionof symbolicthinkingandevenafactorenhancingthiscapacity's spreadthroughoutthehumanpopulation.Thesecondpoint relatestotheapparentrelativeisolationoftheSanpopulation fromothersinAfricaandbeyond,asindicatedbytheunique existenceofclicksandbythegeneticsoftheSanpopulation. ThepointHuijbregts2017makesisthattheseedsofhuman languagemusthavebeentherepriortotherstgeneticsplit, 125,000yearsago.Thisisbecauseotherpopulationsdeveloped alanguageaswell.So,somecognitivepropertythatprecededthe developmentoflanguageexistedpriortothersthumanlineage 14 Inaseparatestudy,Veeramahetal.2012resequencedsamplesfromfour populationsinAfrica—San,EasternPygmies,WesternPygmies,andnonPygmyNiger-Kordofanianspeakers—at40non-genic 2kbregionsand cametoessentiallythesameconclusion,thattheSanpopulationdivergedrst, approximately110,000yearsago. 15 ApieceofevidencefortheborrowingofconsonantalclicksintoBantulanguages istheabsenceofclicksinBantulanguagesoutsidetheareawhereKhoisan languagesarefoundPakendorfetal.,2017.Furthermore,geneticanalysesof populationsindicatethattherewasaprehistoriccontactbetweenKhoisanand Bantu-speakingpopulations.Forinstance,Barbierietal.2013undertookan extensivegeneticstudyoftheBantupopulationinordertoelucidatethenatureof theborrowing.Theiranalysisfavors“admixtureinthematernallinebetweensome oftheBantugroupsfromZambiaandKhoisan-speakingpopulations,”suggesting thattheborrowingtookplacethrough“incorporationofKhoisanwomen”intothe Bantupopulation;aconclusionendorsedbyPakendorfetal.2017. FrontiersinPsychology|www.frontiersin.org 5 February2018|Volume9|Article115

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fpsyg-09-00115February9,2018Time:13:23#6 Miyagawaetal. Cross-ModalityInformationTransfer split.Ifweassumethatthiscognitivepropertyincludedsymbolic thinking,thecognitiveunderpinningsunderlyingCMIThad takenrootearlierthanthesplitoftheSanpopulationfromthe rest. 16 CAVEANDROCKARTANDHUMAN LANGUAGE Caveandrockartingeneralandlanguagehaveanumberof strikingsimilarities: occuroneverymajorcontinent possiblyappearedaboutthesametime,predatingthe migrationoutofAfrica spreadfromAfricatoallotherpartsoftheworldroughlyat thesametime areusedforcommunication expressactions,states,objects,andmodication externalizeinternalmentalstates. Therstthreepointsrelatetotheobservationthatartistic artifacts,eitherdeepincavesorclosertothesurface,occuron everycontinentoccupiedbymodernhumansBahnandFossati, 1995,2003,andtheoldestoccurinAfricaHenshilwoodetal., 2002.Thefourthpointhastodowiththefunctionofart andoflanguage:bothareusedforcommunication. 17 Thefth pointhastodowiththecontentofartworksandoflanguage: bothmayindicateactionsi.e.,predicates,objectsi.e.,nouns, andmodicationi.e.,adjectives. 18 Thenalpoint,thatart andlanguageareexternalsymbolicformsofinternalmental states,isanobviousone,anditalsomayconnectthetwoto geneticstudies.The FOXP2 geneisimplicatedforspeechin humansandforotherexternalizedcommunicationformsinmice Groszeretal.,2008;Castelluccietal.,2016;Chaboutetal., 2016andsongbirdsHaesleretal.,2007,butonlymodern humanshaveartandlanguage.Isthereageneticbasisfor 16 Areviewerbroughttoourattentionthatthestrongidenticationsbetween theSanpeopleandtheeland,atypeofantelope,mayalsoexpressamental representationinCMITterms.AccordingtoOpoku2006,p.356,77%oftheSan rockartsinvolveantelopes.Theimportanceoftheantelope—morespecically, theeland—inSanmythologycanbenoticedintheirritualbehaviors,wherebythe youngSanboysandgirlsvirtuallyidentifythemselveswithelands.Asthereviewer pointsout“thevisualstimulioftheelandistransformedintothekineticgestures oftheritual”bythecommunity,whichmayindicatethattheartistwhocreatedthe paintings“neednotbetheonlysourceoftheinnovationinexternalizedexpression althoughclearlyhe/sheistheonlyonewholeftevidenceofhis/hercognitive ability.” 17 Thecommunicativefunctionofartcanbeinferredfromthendingthatcave paintingsmayhaveplayedaroleinPaleolithicman'sreligiousritualsRezniko, 2014. 18 Wecanevensurmisethatlexicalcategoriessuchasverb,noun,andadjective mayhavebeenexpressedinmanyoftheseartisticrepresentations. this? FOXP2 underwentchangeinmodernhumansVarghaKhademetal.,1995;Laietal.,2001thataectedabinding siteforthetranscriptionfactorPOU3F2Maricicetal.,2013; Huijbregts,2017.ThePOU3F2variantonlyoccursinmodern humans,beingabsentfromNeanderthalsandDenisovans.As Huijbregts2017notes,thischangecouldbeseenasleadingto theacquisitionoffullspeech.Giventhesimilaritywithart,wecan speculatewithHuijbregtsthatasimilargeneticchangemayhave givenrisetothemulti-modalartthatoccurredallovertheworld alongsidelanguage. CONCLUDINGREMARKS Thesymbolicthinkingthatdevelopedinhumansledtorapid technologicalinnovation,sophisticatedvisualarts,andlanguage. Thisnewlyformedcognitivecapacitymayhavehadanother, unexpectedresult.Aftercontinuouslygrowinginsizeoverthe spanofthePleistocene,ourbrainhascontractedinsizeby13%in thepast20,000yearsorsoHawks,2011andreferencestherein. Onepossibleexplanationisthatthesymbolicthinkingthat developedinmodernhumansledtoafundamentallydierent waytocomputedata,onethatextractsonlytheessencerequired forabstractrepresentationinsteadofcomputingtheentireset ofincomingrawdataTattersall,2017.Ourbrainmembrane ismetabolicallyexpensive,sothenewlyformedalgorithmthat requireslessdataledtosheddingoftheunneededmembrane, resultinginbraindiminutioninrecentevolutionarytime.Our proposalisthatthesymbolicthinkingpervasiveinhumansthat ledtobraindiminutionisexemplied,andwasevenenhanced, bytheCMITthatweseeinthecaveandrockartofAfricaand elsewhereintheworldandbythedevelopmentoflanguage.Thus, contrarytoWallace,thedevelopmentoftheartsgavethemodern humansapowerfulevolutionaryadvantage. AUTHORCONTRIBUTIONS Allauthorslistedhavemadeasubstantial,directandintellectual contributiontothework,andapproveditforpublication. 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