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date: 16 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article suggests that broad species comparisons including non-primate species provide the (only) key to several important issues for psychologists taking an evolutionary view/approach. It discusses that the theory of evolution provides alternative concepts that generate different predictions for the cognitive abilities of animals. The article deals with the comparison of distantly related species that live in similar environments. Any similarities in their cognitive abilities would thus reveal independently evolved (analogous) traits. Both concepts are unified in the ‘ethological approach’, which has been developed largely in the 1980s. The article also discusses the logic of evolutionary theory applied to animal cognition. In conclusion, this ‘ecological approach’ predicts analogous capacities in distantly related species due to common ecology, rather than homologous capacities in closely related species due to common ancestry.

Keywords: species, non-primate, evolution, animals, traits, ethological approach, cognition, ecology

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