The complex of biological and behavioural changes which marked the emergence of fully ‘modern’ human populations was revolutionary in its consequences. Where did anatomically modern populations first arise, how did they come to replace the earlier archaic populations, and how did the striking changes in human culture including art, symbolism and (apparently) language come about ? This volume covers all aspects of the evolutionary origins and geographical dispersal of biologically modern human populations (i.e. Homo sapiens sapiens) over a wide area - embracing Africa, Europe, Asia and Australasia. It presents the biological, anatomical and genetic evidence for modern human origins, and the archaeological (and related) evidence for the development of modern behavioural patterns. More general papers discuss the relevant aspects of demography, linguistics, social development, socio-biological approaches and so on.
The conference on The Origins and Dispersal of Modern Humans: Behavioural and Biological Perspectives, held at Cambridge in 1987, brought together fifty-five of the leading international authorities within all of these diverse fields. It received unprecedented media attention. The present volume represents an edited and updated synthesis which emphasises both the areas of emerging agreement in the present study of modern human origins, as well as the problems which still remain to be resolved in this field.
Paul Mellars is in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge and is currently a British Academy Reader in Palaeolithic Archaeology. Chris Stringer is a Principal Scientific Officer in the Department of Palaeontology at the British Museum.
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