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The Speciation of Modern Homo Sapiens$
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T. J. Crow

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780197263112

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197263112.001.0001

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The Morphological and Behavioural Origins of Modern Humans

The Morphological and Behavioural Origins of Modern Humans

(p.22) (p.23) The Morphological and Behavioural Origins of Modern Humans
The Speciation of Modern Homo Sapiens

Chris Stringer

British Academy

This chapter provides an update on the speciation of modern Homo sapiens and the Out of Africa hypothesis. The majority of the fossil and genetic evidence favours an African origin for modern humans during the later part of the Middle Pleistocene (prior to 130,000 years ago), and one or more range expansions out of Africa after that date. However, a number of uncertainties remain. If there was a speciation event at the appearance of modern humans, what was its nature? Furthermore, did the evolution of modern human behaviour occur gradually or punctuationally? The discussion examines the difficulties faced in defining what is meant by ‘modern’ humans, and in reconstructing the morphological and behavioural origins of our species.

Keywords:   speciation, Homo sapiens, Out of Africa, modern human, Middle Pleistocene

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