Creativity, Play, and the Pace of Evolution

The possible role of play in creativity and innovation in animals is explored. After discussing issues involved in key terms and some prior studies on the creative process in humans, difficult issues in applying them to non-human animals are analyzed. If creativity in animals is only to be considered if it can definitely be linked to speciation or taxon level events, supportive data are meager, though suggestive, as in birds. At the cultural, social group, or individual level the evidence is more convincing in a few cases and progress has been made. However, taking a more broad scale approach, it will be argued that play, and the potential for play, may be critically involved in the pace of biological and cultural evolutionary change in vertebrates, and such hypotheses can be tested. © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved..

The possible role of play in creativity and innovation in animals is explored. After discussing issues involved in key terms and some prior studies on the creative process in humans, difficult issues in applying them to non-human animals are analyzed. If creativity in animals is only to be considered if it can definitely be linked to speciation or taxon level events, supportive data are meager, though suggestive, as in birds. At the cultural, social group, or individual level the evidence is more convincing in a few cases and progress has been made. However, taking a more broad scale approach, it will be argued that play, and the potential for play, may be critically involved in the pace of biological and cultural evolutionary change in vertebrates, and such hypotheses can be tested. © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved..

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