, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 85-102
Date: 15 Feb 2008

The Mythical Moderns

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Based on the most current information available on the Late Pleistocene palaeoanthropology of Europe, this paper presents a revolutionary reassessment of the dominant models. The notions of an introduction of African technologies and the full replacement of resident robust hominins are rejected. It is demonstrated that there exists no evidence that any of the Early Upper Palaeolithic tool traditions, including the Aurignacian, were by ‘anatomically modern humans’. The introduction of hominin gracility, in Europe and in three other continents, occurred gradually, over a period of several tens of millennia. What were replaced were not entire continental populations, but robust genes in humans, through genetic drift, introgression and cultural selection of gracile traits, initially in the females. Therefore ‘anatomically modern humans’, which were preceded by cognitive modernity, are the result primarily of incidental selective breeding.