Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


15 March 2011

New research suggests that early humans were just like us

Past Horizons, 15/02/2011

That human evolution follows a progressive trajectory is one of the most deeply-entrenched assumptions about our species. This assumption is often expressed in popular media by showing cavemen speaking in grunts and monosyllables. The question is; were early humans really that different from us? In a paper published in the latest issue of Current Anthropology, archaeologist John Shea of Stony Brook University, shows they were not. The problem, Shea argues, is that archaeologists have been focusing on the wrong measurement of early human behaviour. Archaeologists have been searching for evidence of “behavioural modernity“, a quality supposedly unique to Homo sapiens, when they should have been investigating “behavioural variability,” a quantitative dimension to the behaviour of all living things.

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