It is widely held that the gradual development of metarepresentational Theory
of Mind (ToM) abilities constituted at least one important hominid upgrade.
Are such abilities really needed to explain hominid (i) tool-making, (ii) social
cohesion, or even (iii) basic interpretative apd language formation/learning
capabilities? I propose an alternative explanation of what underlies these sophisticated
capacities - the Mimetic Ability Hypothesis (MAH). MAH claims that
a vastly increased capacity for recreative imagination best explains the kinds of
sophisticated intersubjective engagements of which hominids would have been
capable - and that these constituted an important basis for the development of
complex language. This proposal puts the idea of the evolution of ToM devices
under considerable strain.