Humanities 2012, 1(1), 1-53; doi:10.3390/h1010001

The Origins of Human Modernity

International Federation of Rock Art Organizations (IFRAO), P.O. Box 216, Caulfield South, VIC 3162, Australia
Received: 18 July 2011; in revised form: 17 August 2011 / Accepted: 25 August 2011 / Published: 2 September 2011
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Abstract: This paper addresses the development of the human species during a relatively short period in its evolutionary history, the last forty millennia of the Pleistocene. The hitherto dominant hypotheses of “modern” human origins, the replacement and various other “out of Africa” models, have recently been refuted by the findings of several disciplines, and by a more comprehensive review of the archaeological evidence. The complexity of the subject is reconsidered in the light of several relevant frames of reference, such as those provided by niche construction and gene-culture co-evolutionary theories, and particularly by the domestication hypothesis. The current cultural, genetic and paleoanthropological evidence is reviewed, as well as other germane factors, such as the role of neurodegenerative pathologies, the neotenization of humans in their most recent evolutionary history, and the question of cultural selection-based self-domestication. This comprehensive reassessment leads to a paradigmatic shift in the way recent human evolution needs to be viewed. This article explains fully how humans became what they are today.
Keywords: human evolution; genetics; neoteny; replacement hypothesis; domestication hypothesis; brain disorder

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MDPI and ACS Style

Bednarik, R.G. The Origins of Human Modernity. Humanities 2012, 1, 1-53.

AMA Style

Bednarik RG. The Origins of Human Modernity. Humanities. 2012; 1(1):1-53.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bednarik, Robert G. 2012. "The Origins of Human Modernity." Humanities 1, no. 1: 1-53.

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