What is intelligence, and what are its origins? Do babies come into the world equipped with cognitive abilities that make them intelligent? Or do they become intelligent over the course of learning and experience? The study of children’s cognition provides us with a unique window into the evolutionary and developmental origins of complex behaviors and knowledge systems. In this talk, I will first review various area of research in the field of developmental and comparative psychology that reveal some core cognitive abilities that humans possess from early in life and that we share with other nonhuman animals, including our conceptual, social, numerical, and spatial abilities. I will then provide some recent work from my lab on the domain of spatial cognition and present the claim that our basic representation of space is fundamental for higher-level cognition such as abstract geometry and imagination.