Before Farming

Determining the behavioural profile of early modern humans

assimilating population dynamics and cognitive abilities

Before Farming (2010), 2010, (2), 1–9.

Abstract

It has been assumed that the most productive approach for gauging when modern human behaviour emerged consists of considering when particular artefacts appeared in the archaeological record from which inferences can then be made as to the cognitive profile of those responsible. As a result, the florescence of artefacts that appeared approximately 40,000 BP is regarded as evidence of an important neuro-cognitive event. As anatomical modern humans are thought to have appeared around 200,000-180,000 BP an alternative approach suggests that this florescence can be explained by demographic factors thus discounting the need for cognitive explanations. Although the two approaches explain the timing of events in radically different ways, there nevertheless appears to be some scope for assimilation, especially in relation to the flexibility inherent to neuro-cognitive factors when these are associated with the ability to engage in informed imitation in relation to socio-cultural criteria typical of Homo sapiens. This paper will therefore demonstrate how such assimilation can be realised as well as the implications arising thereby.

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Hodgson, Derek