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Journal ArticleDOI

The revolution that wasn't: a new interpretation of the origin of modern human behavior.

01 Nov 2000-Journal of Human Evolution (J Hum Evol)-Vol. 39, Iss: 5, pp 453-563

TL;DR: The African Middle and early Late Pleistocene hominid fossil record is fairly continuous and in it can be recognized a number of probably distinct species that provide plausible ancestors for H. sapiens, and suggests a gradual assembling of the package of modern human behaviors in Africa, and its later export to other regions of the Old World.
Abstract: Proponents of the model known as the "human revolution" claim that modern human behaviors arose suddenly, and nearly simultaneously, throughout the Old World ca. 40-50 ka. This fundamental behavioral shift is purported to signal a cognitive advance, a possible reorganization of the brain, and the origin of language. Because the earliest modern human fossils, Homo sapiens sensu stricto, are found in Africa and the adjacent region of the Levant at >100 ka, the "human revolution" model creates a time lag between the appearance of anatomical modernity and perceived behavioral modernity, and creates the impression that the earliest modern Africans were behaviorally primitive. This view of events stems from a profound Eurocentric bias and a failure to appreciate the depth and breadth of the African archaeological record. In fact, many of the components of the "human revolution" claimed to appear at 40-50 ka are found in the African Middle Stone Age tens of thousands of years earlier. These features include blade and microlithic technology, bone tools, increased geographic range, specialized hunting, the use of aquatic resources, long distance trade, systematic processing and use of pigment, and art and decoration. These items do not occur suddenly together as predicted by the "human revolution" model, but at sites that are widely separated in space and time. This suggests a gradual assembling of the package of modern human behaviors in Africa, and its later export to other regions of the Old World. The African Middle and early Late Pleistocene hominid fossil record is fairly continuous and in it can be recognized a number of probably distinct species that provide plausible ancestors for H. sapiens. The appearance of Middle Stone Age technology and the first signs of modern behavior coincide with the appearance of fossils that have been attributed to H. helmei, suggesting the behavior of H. helmei is distinct from that of earlier hominid species and quite similar to that of modern people. If on anatomical and behavioral grounds H. helmei is sunk into H. sapiens, the origin of our species is linked with the appearance of Middle Stone Age technology at 250-300 ka.
Topics: Behavioral modernity (60%), Later Stone Age (56%), Homo sapiens (56%), Population (54%), Middle Stone Age (53%)
Citations
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Journal ArticleDOI
Swapan Mallick1, Swapan Mallick2, Swapan Mallick3, Heng Li3  +101 moreInstitutions (44)
13 Oct 2016-Nature
TL;DR: It is demonstrated that indigenous Australians, New Guineans and Andamanese do not derive substantial ancestry from an early dispersal of modern humans; instead, their modern human ancestry is consistent with coming from the same source as that of other non-Africans.
Abstract: Here we report the Simons Genome Diversity Project data set: high quality genomes from 300 individuals from 142 diverse populations. These genomes include at least 5.8 million base pairs that are not present in the human reference genome. Our analysis reveals key features of the landscape of human genome variation, including that the rate of accumulation of mutations has accelerated by about 5% in non-Africans compared to Africans since divergence. We show that the ancestors of some pairs of present-day human populations were substantially separated by 100,000 years ago, well before the archaeologically attested onset of behavioural modernity. We also demonstrate that indigenous Australians, New Guineans and Andamanese do not derive substantial ancestry from an early dispersal of modern humans; instead, their modern human ancestry is consistent with coming from the same source as that of other non-Africans.

837 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Jung-Kyoo Choi1, Samuel Bowles2Institutions (2)
26 Oct 2007-Science
TL;DR: It is shown that under conditions likely to have been experienced by late Pleistocene and early Holocene humans, neither parochialism nor altruism would have been viable singly, but by promoting group conflict, they could have evolved jointly.
Abstract: Altruism—benefiting fellow group members at a cost to oneself—and parochialism—hostility toward individuals not of one9s own ethnic, racial, or other group—are common human behaviors. The intersection of the two—which we term “parochial altruism”—is puzzling from an evolutionary perspective because altruistic or parochial behavior reduces one9s payoffs by comparison to what one would gain by eschewing these behaviors. But parochial altruism could have evolved if parochialism promoted intergroup hostilities and the combination of altruism and parochialism contributed to success in these conflicts. Our game-theoretic analysis and agent-based simulations show that under conditions likely to have been experienced by late Pleistocene and early Holocene humans, neither parochialism nor altruism would have been viable singly, but by promoting group conflict, they could have evolved jointly.

837 citations


Book
01 Jan 2005-
Abstract: Over the past 25 years, Boyd and Richerson have become well-known across a wide range of disciplines for their path-breaking work on evolution and culture. This work collects twenty of the influential but relatively inaccessible published articels that form the backbone of this research. It could not be more timely given the growing influence of evolutionary psychology. The papers - which were published in a diverse set of journals and which are not easily available - a conceptually linked and form a cohesive, unified evolutionary account of human culture. Their interdisciplinary research is based on two notions. First, that culture is crucial for understanding human behavior: unlike other organism, socially transmitted beliefs, attitudes and values heavily influence our behavior. Secondly, culture is part of biology: the capacity to acquire and transmit culture is a derived component of human psychology, and the contents of culture are deeply intertwined with our biology. Taking off from these two assumptions, Boyd and Richerson's novel idea is that culture is a pool of information, stored in the brains of a population, that gets transmitted from one brain to another by social learning processes. Among their conclusions: culture can account for both our astounding ecological success as well as the maladaptations that characterize much of human behavior. Interest in Boyd and Richerson's work spans anthropology, psychology, economics, philosophy, and political science, and has influenced work on animal behavior, economics and game theory, memes, and even archaeology.

829 citations


MonographDOI
W. Tecumseh Fitch1Institutions (1)
01 Apr 2010-New Scientist
Abstract: of central importance for future research on language evolution. One such line of work meets Fitch’ s plea for data- driven research to a degree unprecedented in the history of linguistics. By exploiting newly available massive natu- ral language corpora pow- erful are capture the of language as a lation phenomenon (

767 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Adam Powell1, Stephen Shennan1, Stephen Shennan2, Mark G. Thomas2  +1 moreInstitutions (2)
05 Jun 2009-Science
TL;DR: A population model shows that demography is a major determinant in the maintenance of cultural complexity and that variation in regional subpopulation density and/or migratory activity results in spatial structuring of cultural skill accumulation.
Abstract: The origins of modern human behavior are marked by increased symbolic and technological complexity in the archaeological record. In western Eurasia this transition, the Upper Paleolithic, occurred about 45,000 years ago, but many of its features appear transiently in southern Africa about 45,000 years earlier. We show that demography is a major determinant in the maintenance of cultural complexity and that variation in regional subpopulation density and/or migratory activity results in spatial structuring of cultural skill accumulation. Genetic estimates of regional population size over time show that densities in early Upper Paleolithic Europe were similar to those in sub-Saharan Africa when modern behavior first appeared. Demographic factors can thus explain geographic variation in the timing of the first appearance of modern behavior without invoking increased cognitive capacity.

758 citations


References
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Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: Using the concept of “orbital tuning”, a continuous, high-resolution deep-sea chronostratigraphy has been developed spanning the last 300,000 yr. The chronology is developed using a stacked oxygen-isotope stratigraphy and four different orbital tuning approaches, each of which is based upon a different assumption concerning the response of the orbital signal recorded in the data. Each approach yields a separate chronology. The error measured by the standard deviation about the average of these four results (which represents the “best” chronology) has an average magnitude of only 2500 yr. This small value indicates that the chronology produced is insensitive to the specific orbital tuning technique used. Excellent convergence between chronologies developed using each of five different paleoclimatological indicators (from a single core) is also obtained. The resultant chronology is also insensitive to the specific indicator used. The error associated with each tuning approach is estimated independently and propagated through to the average result. The resulting error estimate is independent of that associated with the degree of convergence and has an average magnitude of 3500 yr, in excellent agreement with the 2500-yr estimate. Transfer of the final chronology to the stacked record leads to an estimated error of ±1500 yr. Thus the final chronology has an average error of ±5000 yr.

3,190 citations



Journal ArticleDOI
01 Jan 1987-Nature
TL;DR: All these mitochondrial DMAs stem from one woman who is postulated to have lived about 200,000 years ago, probably in Africa, implying that each area was colonised repeatedly.
Abstract: ▪ Abstract Several unique properties of human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), including its high copy number, maternal inheritance, lack of recombination, and high mutation rate, have made it the molecule of choice for studies of human population history and evolution. Here we review the current state of knowledge concerning these properties, how mtDNA variation is studied, what we have learned, and what the future likely holds. We conclude that increasingly, mtDNA studies are (and should be) supplemented with analyses of the Y-chromosome and other nuclear DNA variation. Some serious issues need to be addressed concerning nuclear inserts, database quality, and the possible influence of selection on mtDNA variation. Nonetheless, mtDNA studies will continue to play an important role in such areas as examining socio-cultural influences on human genetic variation, ancient DNA, certain forensic DNA applications, and in tracing personal genetic history.

2,570 citations


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