General Introduction

Steven L. Kuhn, Erella Hovers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

14 Scopus citations


The origins of modern humans, and the fate of the Neandertals, are arguably the most compelling and contentious arenas in Paleoanthropological research today, and they have been at the forefront of the field for at least the past 20 years. The much-discussed split between advocates of a single, early emergence of anatomically modern humans in sub-Saharan Africa and supporters of various models of regional continuity represents only part of the picture. More interesting in our opinion are the relationships between anatomical and behavioral changes that occurred during the past 200,000 years. Although modern humans as a species may be defined in terms of their skeletal anatomy, it is their behavior, and the social and cognitive structures that support that behavior, which most clearly distinguish Homo sapiens from other animals and from earlier forms of humans. Moreover, it is the origin of our shared behavioral (rather than skeletal) characteristics that is of greatest interest to the rest of the social and behavioral sciences. Learning how humans, as a species, came to act the way they do is probably the greatest contribution that Paleoanthropology can make to understanding the human present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInterdisciplinary Contributions to Archaeology
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 2006

Publication series

NameInterdisciplinary Contributions to Archaeology
ISSN (Print)1568-2722


  • Bone Tool
  • Current Anthropology
  • Lithic Technology
  • Modern Homo
  • Modern Human

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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