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Anyway: a knowledge exists in the brain of an individual (who has learned it). If this individual, chimp or human, do not teach it, then it is lost. Otherwise it is transmitted. Chances are that the second individual will be young (study about learning age 3-5 for chimps), so will survive its teacher: if he becomes a teacher in his time, then the knowledge has been transmitted to the next generation.
Does knowledge exists independently from a living mind? This is a philosophical question I do not have an answer to.
That's the third paper, talking about continuous transmission attested by archeological evidence during a period of time.
If you're restraining your though to transmission through a media like writing, recording and so on, then what about human oral cultures or pre-historical ones?
I feel the limit is much more tenuous and that it may be impossible to find something other than a difference in degree (of intelligence, communication, culture...) between species that are akin to ours.
personal memory -> shared herd memory -> external persistent shared memory -> abstracted external shared memory.
Each is a superclass of the previous one, and the differentiator - as I said - is that once memory is externalised, face to face transmission is no longer required, and it also becomes possible to symbolically abstract, summarise, model and share experience without having to living it personally.
That's a difference in kind, not a difference in degree. It took humans a long time to invent it, but once it was invented it made a lot of other things possible, including brain tools like computers, which not only store information outside of individual experience, but can leverage innate intelligence in novel ways.
Specifically, I'm thinking of the theory that European post-WWII Social Democracy is a consequence of two world wars in 30 years decimating the male minitaristic elite. But the effect of that did not survive the coming of age (1980s) of the generation born after WWII (1950s), because they could learn toxic culture from the "classic" writings of dead people.
A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
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