Special Issue "Re-assessing Human Origins"

A special issue of Humanities (ISSN 2076-0787). This special issue belongs to the section "Archaeology in the Humanities".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2018).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Robert G. Bednarik
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
International Federation of Rock Art Organisations (IFRAO), PO Box 216, Caulfield South, Vic. 3162, Australia
Interests: Origins of human constructs of reality; Pleistocene archaeology; human evolution; origins of palaeoart; origins of seafaring colonization; cognitive science; neuroscience; rock art science

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The study of human origins is facing a phase of ‘revolutionary science’ unparalleled in its history: many of its most cherished tenets are severely challenged by recent developments of many kinds, among them the claim that hominins may originate in Europe rather than Africa; the claim that humans were in California 130,000 years ago; the claims concerning the Denisovans, Red Deer Cave people, ‘Hobbits’ and others; the demise of the influential ‘African Eve’ hypothesis; the advent of the ‘domestication hypothesis’; the evidence of seafaring one million years ago; the evidence of palaeort extending back just as far; and many other developments that render a re-writing of the textbooks inevitable. The conservative sector of the discipline has bravely held the line but at some point the conservative interpretation of the human past is likely to collapse under the growing weight of evidence that this past has been spectacularly misjudged. We have reached a breaking point at which a paradigm change seems inevitable. The purpose of this Special Issue of Humanities is to provide a forum for the conservative and progressive voices in the discipline, allowing this paradigm change to be debated and chronicled. In August 2018, a major international conference to be held in Turin, Italy, entitled Is there palaeoart before modern humans? will also explore these subjects, and this Special Issue will be closely aligned with that event.

Contributions are invited from all scholars involved in the study of human origins who consider that a re-assessment of human and hominin origins can re-invigorate the discipline. Any topic relevant to such a re-assessment is welcome, but the main purpose of the collection of papers is to facilitate constructive debate about the direction of the fields of palaeoanthropology, Pliocene/Pleistocene archaeology and related specialties as they approach a crossroad. Contributions need to comply with the editorial guidelines of Humanities, need to be of the highest academic standards, and the initial submission of paper titles and maximum 100-words abstracts is strongly encouraged.

Prof. Robert G. Bednarik
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Humanities is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Human evolution
  • Palaeoanthropology
  • Pleistocene palaeoart
  • Cognitive evolution
  • Human modernity
  • Paradigm change.

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Article
Several Lower Palaeolithic Sites along the Rhine Rift Valley, Dated from 1.3 to 0.6 Million Years
Humanities 2019, 8(3), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8030129 - 31 Jul 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1931
Abstract
The important discoveries of Lower Palaeolithic artefacts in stratigraphical context within Lower and early Middle Pleistocene deposits in the western continental part of Europe along the rift systeme of the Rhine Valley are pointing at the possible continuous presence of hominins since the [...] Read more.
The important discoveries of Lower Palaeolithic artefacts in stratigraphical context within Lower and early Middle Pleistocene deposits in the western continental part of Europe along the rift systeme of the Rhine Valley are pointing at the possible continuous presence of hominins since the Lower Pleistocene. This paper reports on lithic industry from its early appearance at around 1.3 million years (Ma) at the site of Münster-Sarmsheim to the latest pre-Elsterian period at around 0.6 Ma at Mauer, Mosbach, and Miesenheim. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Re-assessing Human Origins)
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Article
Were Neanderthals Rational? A Stoic Approach
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7020039 - 21 Apr 2018
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 8063
Abstract
This paper adopts the philosophical approach of Stoicism as the basis for re-examining the cognitive and ethical relationship between Homo sapiens and Neanderthals. Stoicism sets out a clear criterion for the special moral status of human beings, namely rationality. We explore to what [...] Read more.
This paper adopts the philosophical approach of Stoicism as the basis for re-examining the cognitive and ethical relationship between Homo sapiens and Neanderthals. Stoicism sets out a clear criterion for the special moral status of human beings, namely rationality. We explore to what extent Neanderthals were sufficiently rational to be considered “human”. Recent findings in the fields of palaeoanthropology and palaeogenetics show that Neanderthals possessed high-level cognitive abilities and produced viable offspring with anatomically modern humans. Our discussion offers insights for reflecting on the relationship between humans and other forms of natural life and any moral obligations that result. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Re-assessing Human Origins)
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