5.IV: Behaviorally Modern Humans

cave art, cave paintings, caveman art, hand stencils, El Castillo, cave drawings, prehistoric art, modern humans, behaviorally modern humans, oldest art
These 40,000 year old hand stencils and accompanying animal drawings, made by our 2,000th-great-grandparents, are among the oldest known art in the world. El Castillo, Spain.

Up to this point, the evolution of the human being has been much the same as any animal.  Now we have reached that remarkable turning point when humans began to show clear signs of the higher intelligence that we recognize in ourselves today.  This section will describe what anthropologists mean by “modern behavior” and how it may have emerged.

A.  The Modern Human Brain
B.  Language
C.  Modern Behavior
D.  Religion
E.  Citations

A. The Modern Human Brain

The brain is the seat of intelligence.  Whatever it is that happened in early Homo sapiens, it must have originated in the brain.  We have already taken note of the big brain bang. 1 Here, we will see that it isn’t just a matter of size.  The human brain is also unique in its structure, from the level of gross anatomy down to the snippets of DNA that control brain development.  The big question is when this happened.  Archaeology suggests that fully modern behavior matured fairly recently, within 200,000 years.  As we study humans in comparison to other species, we are especially on the lookout for correspondingly recent changes.  

The nearest living brain we can compare to our own is the chimpanzee’s.  The human brain does not seem to have any “new parts” over chimps.  The differences lie in the size, function, or structure of the same parts.  A human brain is proportionally more well-endowed in the cerebellum 1 and the association areas of the cortex. 2 The cerebellum controls voluntary movement, including hand-eye coordination and the production of speech.  The association areas allow us to make higher-order decisions about things we sense, such as recognizing a face.  They are also involved in the highest-level mental activities independent of the senses, like making plans or expressing our feelings in words. 

The human brain is more asymmetric than the chimp’s, both in form 3 and function.    Asymmetry allows the left and right hemispheres to specialize, so that together they can perform more functions.  98% of human brains process speech in just one hemisphere 4 , while the other hemisphere specializes in non-verbal tasks like recognizing faces and sounds. 5 Brain / mind complexity arises from connecting different regions like the left / right hemispheres; integration gives our mind a chance to look at things from different angles. 

At the cellular level, some regions of the human brain are unusually rich in white matter, the “wiring” beneath the surface that connects neurons in different areas. 6 There are also newly-discovered human brain cells that have not yet been detected in other animals. 7 “Rosehip neurons” provide very targeted control of other brain cells. 8 “Predecessor cells”, interestingly, are the first cells to appear in the cortex of the developing human embryo. 9

Two particular genes called MCPH1 10 and ASPM 11 , which are associated with brain size, are thought to have experienced mutations within the last 100,000 years. One of the most oft-discussed genes is called FOXP2.  Variations in this gene are known to have profound effects on language, 12 and the human version of FOXP2 is not found in chimps.  Interestingly, it was shared by Neanderthals, electrifying the debate about whether some early humans could speak.  The pre-Neanderthal age of FOXP2 rules it out as a recent miracle mutation in modern humans, but it is only one of several genes involved in language.                   

When it comes to our DNA, the difference between humans and chimps is not so much new genes as gene regulators – the controls that turn genes on or off. 13 Geneticists have identified a whole class of DNA snippets called Human Accelerated Regions (HAR) that are uniquely human.  Many of them are involved in regulating genes for brain development. 14 Some of these HARs were already present in Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA, so they are not smoking guns in modern human adaptations. 15

A crude map of the brain in context of the skull. 16

One of Homo sapiens’ most distinctive characteristics is the large, globular skull. This is no coincidence; a changing skull indicates a changing brain.  The adaptations in our braincase would be necessary to accommodate growth in the frontal lobes, parietal lobes, and cerebellum. 17 The history of the human skull tells us that these regions swelled precisely during the emergence of modern humans.  The frontal lobe is dominated by association areas.  Two of these areas, the prefrontal cortex and the fronto-insular cortex, are particularly larger in humans than in chimps.  The prefrontal cortex, at the very front of the brain, is associated with personality, social behavior, and decision-making.  The fronto-insular cortex is one of the few regions of the brain that contains spindle neurons.  It has been associated with spatial awareness, self-awareness, the complexities of emotions, cravings, and even addiction.  

What does it all mean?  The human brain is not only large but uniquely organized.  However, the organ has been evolving for several million years.  Only a few specific changes can be pinpointed to the last few hundred thousand years.  It’s a safe bet that modern behavior was facilitated not just by biology but also by culture.    

B. Language

1.  What is Language?
2.  The Origins of Language
3.  Language and the Mind
4.  The Sociology of Language

1. What is Language?

In the mind of an individual, the essence of language begins with symbolic, abstract thought.  When you see, say, a tree in your backyard, you can symbolize that tree with a sketch, a hand gesture, a name (“Leafy”), or anything else that your mind can perceive.  You can then use that symbol in ways that you can’t use the tree.  What’s more, you can mentalize abstractions of that tree.  When you see several trees that look like Leafy, your mind can lump them into a category represented by another symbol (“elm”).  The process of abstraction is unlimited (“tree”, “green object”, etc.)  By abstracting your immediate surroundings, you can imagine things in a different place or time – even things that don’t exist (a “tree of life”).

Next, language is social.  Communication requires a listener as well as a speaker.  Furthermore, language must be taught culturally; it is not entirely instinctive.  In the rare cases when children grow up without exposure to language, they do not create their own.

Language can be conveyed with gestures, pictograms, or smoke signals for that matter.  The human medium of choice, as we know, was vocalization.  Spoken language has unique properties.  It is formed with a small set of meaningless vocal sounds (“c”, “a”, or “t”) that can be combined in an infinite number of ways.  Some of these combinations (“cat”) are chosen as meaningful symbols, which can again be combined with infinite variety to express complete thoughts.

That brings us around to grammar, which is a socially-agreed set of rules about how words are strung together.  An intelligent chimp can sign words in combination like “cat me give food”, but is incapable of creating finer clarifications like “I will give food to the cat” or “give me the cat food.” 18

2. The Origins of Language

As foreshadowed in Chapters 10 and 6, the origins of language are notoriously inscrutable.  We frankly don’t know when, how, or “why” our ancestors progressed from animal communication to human language.  Speculative hypotheses can (and do) fill entire books.  Some models are gradualist, proposing that language skills evolved bit by bit over time.  Others believe that a recent genetic mutation rapidly bestowed the gift of language on our recent African ancestors.  If there’s anything I have learned in my decade researching this book, it is that nature is patient.  I am inclined toward a gradualist belief just as a matter of principle. 

The evidence in favor of lightning-bolt language acquisition is the archaeological record of modern behavior.  The earliest African emigrants clearly exhibited modern behavior (more on that behavior in the next topic).  The line of reasoning is that these humans must have become “modern” because their capacity for language allowed them to communicate complex thoughts and to perpetuate culture through the generations.  The circumstantial evidence is noteworthy:  modern behavior, the worldwide spread of Homo sapiens, and the extinction of all other human species all accelerated rapidly 40 – 50 TYA.  The key assumption is almost undeniable: language does seem necessary to explain the sophistication of modern behavior.  We can establish 50,000 years, then, as a conservative minimum age for the proliferation of language as we know it.   

The further we go back in time, the less direct evidence is available.  A few recent (controversial) archaeological discoveries could be interpreted as signs of modern behavior in Africa almost 200 TYA. 19 Linguists search for clues among the world’s living languages.  Some teams have concluded that today’s degree of diversity would have required upward of 100,000 years of language development, with a proposed origin in Middle Stone Age Africa. 20 Others insist that any linguistic analysis beyond 10,000 years is futile. 21

3. Language and the Mind

Language and thought form a symbiotic cycle.  Thoughts provide us with some of the basic subject matter of language.  Without language, though, it would be almost impossible to nail down a thought that is very detailed or abstract.  Linguistic relativism is the idea that language influences our very perceptions of reality.  There is evidence that cultures visualize space, time, gender, or colors in various ways, influenced by the words used to measure or categorize. 22

Children are very good at learning spoken language – so good, in fact, that some scientists believe that all babies are born with an instinctive “universal grammar”. 23   Others believe that language is just one special cultural skill enabled by our general capacities for memory and association. 24 The brain develops very quickly in early childhood.  Language might be “hard-wired” in infancy, not by instinct, but by exposure to language while new connections are forming in the brain. 

Another debate concerns the mind’s own representation of ideas.  One conjecture is that the subconscious mind processes ideas in an unknown logical language of its own, the language of thought. 25 Alternatively, thought might originate in non-linguistic form, like a map 26 or a network of interconnected switches 27 , that somehow produces language-like properties.  In fact, such experimental systems are called neural networks.

Recursion is a thought process that is almost uniquely human.  It involves applying an idea repeatedly or to itself, like the idea of a “part”:

Recursion may be one of the key prerequisites to thinking linguistically. 28 For example, our well-developed theory of mind allows us to have a “thought within a thought”.   A “story within a story” allows us to integrate past, present, and future – one of the most important functions of thought and language. 29

4. The Sociology of Language

Language is the vessel of culture.  It greatly expands the range of ideas that people can share, whether for making tools, gossiping, or organizing a hunt.  Language is especially powerful for preserving knowledge through the generations, allowing cultural wealth to accumulate.  That seems to be what happened among the earliest Eurasians, providing us with the evidence that they had mastered language. 

Language greatly reinforces the us-versus-them effect.  While a common language acts as a bridge to bring small communities together, it is a barrier against integration with other people.  The hunter-gatherer world must have been fragmented into several thousand language zones.  (In New Guinea, one of the last refuges of foraging economies, the average language spans only 15 villages! 30 ) Language barriers are effectively insurmountable for marriage, so the history of languages must have closely tracked the genealogy of the populations who spoke them. 31

Spoken languages are very fluid.  They change with every generation and easily splinter into dialects.  We know from the history of Europe that a root language like Latin can diverge into dozens of mutually incomprehensible languages within a millennium.  Partly for this reason, spoken language has serious limitations for preserving factual information.  Poetry and song help people memorize their history and folklore, yet, as languages themselves are ephemeral, these verses are not eternal.  There are a few extreme traces of collective memory allegedly going back 10,000 years, like American recollections of woolly mammoths. 32 By and large, though, historians believe that collective memories only survive a few centuries. 33 The modern human experience was relived and forgotten 100 times over before writing captured a snapshot of it less than 10,000 years ago.   

C. Modern Behavior

1.  Modernity and Language
2.  Modernity Trait Lists
3.  Where and When?

1. Modernity and Language

How do we define the human spirit?  Everyone agrees that advanced human behavior sets us apart from all other species.  The interesting question is where we draw the line between our animalistic and human nature.  Only if we define that threshold can we begin to answer questions about how our ancestors crossed it.  I will define human “modernity” as the behavior that requires language or the mental processes associated with language. 2 Leading anthropologists have enumerated such mental processes as abstract thought, symbolism, planning, and innovation. 34.

Chapter 6 introduced two exceptionally early breakthroughs that form a category of their own.  Stone knapping and the control of fire must be considered “borderline modern” behavior.  These skills did not necessarily require full-blown language 3 , yet they are clearly beyond the capacity of other species.  Both skills involve planning.  The first humans to accomplish them were clearly innovative, but then stone age technology hardly changed for a million years.  Neither fire nor tools indicate abstract or symbolic cognition.  These noteworthy examples suggest how gradual the transition to linguistic thought and modernism might have been.

2. Modernity Trait Lists

The definitions of modernity above are philosophically interesting but too abstract to guide archaeologists in the field.  Since we can’t administer intelligence tests to Stone Agers, we must look for concrete evidence that they used language, symbolism, abstract thought, planning, and innovation.  Scientists have published numerous “trait lists” of the evidence at hand.  Hardly any two lists are identical, and these lists shift with new discoveries.  One of the most significant and commonly cited examples is ritualistic burial of the dead, which I will discuss further in the following topic.  Other key signs of modernity are presented here.

a.  Clothing and ornamentation
b.  Mastering land and sea
c.  Tool technology breakthroughs
d.  Art

a. Clothing and ornamentation

Ornamentation, like paint and jewelry, constitutes some of the earliest known behavior that archaeologists construe as modern.  The idea is that a person wears jewelry to symbolize a sense of self, projecting a particular image to others.  Jewelry, face paint, head dresses, and the like are also important elements of a uniform dress code that symbolizes group identity.  Very often, ornamentation is valued for its sheer aesthetic value.  Red ochre is a common pigment found in archaeological sites going back almost 300,000 years. 35 Beads drilled with holes, presumably for stringing on necklaces or bracelets, date to at least 100,000 years in Israel 36 and are found throughout Africa in sites 70 – 80 TYO.   

Clothes are another obvious indicator of modern behavior.  Not only is clothing used for personal expression and identity, but it is an innovative use of resources as protection against the elements.  Unfortunately, clothes decompose quickly, so it is difficult to date their origin directly.  A particularly clever study has analyzed lice DNA.  The lice that occupy our clothes are a different species than head lice.  These species appear to diverge from a common ancestor in Africa around 70,000 years ago.  It is a reasonable inference that clothing, or at least tailored clothing, became common in that time and place. 37 Clothes are a prime example of cultural adaptation.  When any other species encounters a new environment, whether through migration or geologic change, its only option is slow biological adaptation by evolution.  Humans can afford to be much more impatient.  We can put on clothes, erect shelters, or even alter the environment.  Cultural adaptation has reduced evolutionary pressure on our physique, one reason that our species is evolving very slowly now.

b. Mastering land and sea

Early Homo sapiens had a good sense of places and times beyond the here and now.  Only at the modern human horizon do we begin to find resources located far away from their places of origin. 38 People must have had a mental layout of the land.  They knew of specific locales that were rich in plants, animals, and minerals, and they understood seasonal variations.  They probably traded resources with neighboring bands of people.

The first wave of modern Asians was probably the earliest seafaring people.  The journeys to Australia and Japan 39 give us the oldest indirect evidence of boats or rafts.  Even during the lowest sea levels, Australia was never joined to Asia.  The only way to get there was by boat, which is why earlier species such as Homo erectus had never made it to Australia.  Early settlers of Oceania somehow found a way to catch tuna and other deep-sea fish 40,000 years ago, well before the invention of fishhooks! 40 Fish and birds have become much more prevalent in the diet of modern humans.

c. Tool technology breakthroughs

The first European Homo sapiens, in a culture that archaeologists call Aurignacian, have impressed archaeologists with the degree of specialization and diversity in their toolkit.  They seemed to have “a tool for every job”, including blades, numerous shapes of scrapers, and awls for punching holes in leather.  The blade, defined as a sharpened stone more than twice as long as it is wide, was one of the most important new tools of this period.  Craftsmanship became standardized and reached impressive heights.  Blade technology offered a much more efficient use of stone material than hand axes. 41

The burin was a stone chisel used to carve softer materials such as wood, bone, ivory, and antlers.  This gave modern humans a whole new toolkit made of organic materials.  In other words, the burin was a tool to make tools – there’s that recursive thought again!  In fact, some of these stone-carved antler tools were used to flake or sharpen new stone blades.  Needles made of bone demonstrated that people were sewing and probably had quite sophisticated clothing by 40 TYA.  Organic materials were also useful for compound tools, such as a spear with a stone tip hafted to a wooden shaft.  Compound tools were often strengthened with adhesives. 

d. Art

Middle Stone Age Africans decorated items with patterns such as dots and crosshatches.  This proto-artistic phase progressed to the famous cave paintings and “Venus” figurines of the Upper Paleolithic.  Figurative art more than 30 TYO is found throughout the Old World.  It usually depicts people or animals.  Representational paintings and sculptures are undeniable signs of abstract thought, for they are tangible symbols of other things.  Musical instruments are also found among Upper Paleolithic artifacts.   

3. Where and When?

When we define modernity by a trait-list of several archaeological examples, tracing its origins gets complicated.  Although Upper Paleolithic Europe was originally defined as the cradle of behavioral modernity, we now know that most modern traits made their earliest appearances in Middle Stone Age Africa. 42 Some of the oldest art in the world, including arguably the first known painting of a human being, is found in Australia.  Even Neanderthals exhibited some behaviors that would be characterized as modern.     

However, the strands of modernity did not coalesce in a single culture until the Aurignacians in Europe about 45 TYA.  Scientists today are fiercely debating the reasons for this cultural surge: ecological need 43 , cultural accumulation 44 , a sudden shift in human mentality 45 , or even a historic bias toward European archaeology. 46 Nevertheless, all humans were living “modern” hunter-gatherer lifestyles by 30 TYA. 

D. Religion

1.  Why we are religious
2.  Natural religion — beliefs and practices
3.  Drugs

1. Why we are religious

What if religion is neither truth nor lie, but an illusion?   

Such an illusion would result naturally from our minds’ own strengths and weaknesses.  Humans have become exceptionally good at the theory of mind.  We live in a social world inhabited by conscious, willful minds like our own.  We recognize our peers acting in self-interested ways, and we constantly negotiate, scheme, plead, and partner with each other. 

We also have a well-developed sense of abstract thought.  We can conceive of the abstract essence or “spirit” of people and things.  If I ask you to think of your mother, there is her spirit in your mind, whether she is present, absent, or dead.  You can even hold a mental spirit representation of something that is inanimate, like the sun, or intangible, like justice.    

Put them together and you get spirituality: the compelling illusion that the spirits in our mind really exist and act purposefully in the outside world. 47 We attribute every characteristic of our own minds to these spirits, seeing them as conscious, emotional, and cunningly self-interested. When we see something that we don’t understand, we tend to “explain” it with the magic willpower of unseen spirits.  Whether it’s birth, death, war, or the weather, we shrug and say, “That happened because there’s a spirit who wanted it that way.” 48 We then make every attempt to negotiate, plead, and partner with the spirits in charge.   

If spirits are an illusion, how can the whole world have believed in them for 100,000 years?  We can answer this question by considering cultural evolution.  Beliefs and behaviors are like living things in some ways.  They “reproduce” by passing from person to person and down the generations, often changing along the way.  We cannot believe, understand, or remember everything we hear, so beliefs compete for survival within a social environment.  These conditions all meet the definition of evolution.  It’s important to remember that evolution is a survival filter, not a truth filter. Religious beliefs that benefit the reproduction of themselves or their practitioners will live on whether they are true or false.

There are reasons to believe that religion adds to a community’s fitness.  Every culture known to history has religious roots. 49 If there ever were prehistoric atheistic societies, they apparently either dissolved or eventually adopted a religion.  A reasonable explanation is that, before governments existed, it was religion that bounded a community together in defense against others. 50

Besides that, it’s almost impossible to pierce the veil of perception.  Our mind is our only window to the universe.  If that mind has a spiritual tint, then we see spirits in the world.  Spiritual beliefs are inborn 51 and culturally reinforced from birth, so every person takes them for granted. 

We then reinforce our beliefs with a process that I call evidence filtering. 4 We overestimate the probative value of evidence consistent with our beliefs, seizing on every minor clue as “proof”. But when confronted with contrary evidence, we fabricate excuses (sometimes quite elaborate) to ignore that evidence. 52

For instance, suppose the people in a tribe believe that they can harm their enemies vicariously with voodoo dolls.  If a doll is burned and then its target gets feverish, the tribesmen see this as proof of their superstition.  They probably won’t notice or remember the failures.  If someone presses them on an act of doll violence with no effects, the tribesmen might attempt to “unfalsify” their belief with an excuse like, “We did not execute that ritual properly” or “The spirits will make him sick another day.” 53 They are also likely to get defensive with “barking dogma”: “It’s bad to think that way!” or “You’re not one of us, so you must be lying!” 5 Biased beliefs become the only option for someone who wants to live in harmony with the group.

In addition to the social element, many people also feel that their beliefs are proven by a “religious experience” that they have had.  People describe these experiences with the same few recurring themes. They generally involve a euphoric flash of “enlightenment” about spiritual unity that feels very meaningful, although it cannot be clearly expressed in words. 54 Recent studies have associated some feelings of hyper-religiosity 55 , a sensed presence 56 , or a state of union with God 57 with specific neural patterns.  This field of study is in its infancy, but it provides further evidence that, despite the compelling illusion, religious experiences come from within. 

2. Natural religion — beliefs and practices

The root of all religion is animism, the belief that nature is animated by spirits. 58 For all their local variations, animistic religions around the world have a common core.  The overarching theme is communication with spirits in order to exert some control over the world. 59 The community honors the good spirits and petitions them for food, health, fertility, and guidance.  The souls of deceased ancestors are usually revered among the most important spirits.  Meanwhile, people must bargain with or fight against harmful spirits that cause illness or misfortune. 

Traditional religion is a social activity.  Spiritual invocations are often ritualized with public ceremonies that involve special clothing, masks, dance, music, and fire.  Ritual is a powerful way to build a sense of community. It establishes emotional connections and provides consistent reminders of community values. It reinforces the idea that the community protects its individuals; personal needs are subjugated to the greater good.  Again, this social cohesion was probably a pivotal reason that religion has flourished.

As animists must communicate with spirits, they place great import on the boundaries and gateways between the natural and supernatural worlds.  Dreams are perceived as visions of the otherworld or messages from spirits. 60 Shamans are special individuals who function as go-betweens.  A shaman is usually initiated with an illness, psychosis, or trauma. 61 He or she often goes into a trance to cross over to the spirit realm.   

The earliest evidence of religious thought is ritualized burial.  Of course, there are practical reasons for burial, like concealing smells and keeping scavengers away.  Even some early humans buried their dead.  Homo sapiens burials exhibited something new: a deliberately ritualistic aspect.  Common Paleolithic examples included staining the dead with red ochre pigment, laying bodies to rest in standardized positions, or burying them with ceremonial grave goods, clothing, or jewelry.  These rituals suggest that people were providing for the soul of the deceased as it passed into an afterlife.  Some signs of ritualized burial appear by 100 TYA, 62 though it was much more common in the Upper Paleolithic.

Cross-cultural comparison of today’s religions also predicts that belief in an afterlife dates back at least 90,000 years. 63

When a modern-day shaman has a vision or dream, he describes it to his villagers.  Some are painted on rocks or caves, and these depictions can bear a striking resemblance to the oldest paintings in the world. 64 Likewise, some of the earliest sculptures look like they could represent visions, spirits, or gods.  These are only speculations about why prehistoric people invented art – but we can’t help speculating.

3. Drugs

A drug can have medicinal properties such as killing bacteria or numbing pain.  Other drugs are mind-altering substances, which work by manipulating neurotransmitters.  For example, when a drug simulates or stimulates dopamine, it makes the brain feel “rewarded” for no reason other than taking the drug.  Hallucinogens are a special class of mind-altering drugs that alter perceptions and the senses.      

All these categories of drugs – medicinal, mood-altering, and hallucinogenic – are used extensively in foraging societies. 65 Shamans commonly take hallucinogens to embark on their spiritual journeys.  In addition to hallucinations and visions, sacred drugs can also produce feelings of ecstasy, enlightenment, and unity with nature.  In short, they trigger religious experiences in the brain.  Shamans are also “medicine men”, the world’s first doctors.  They treat their neighbors with a combination of ritual, prayer, and natural medicine. 

Though drugs occur naturally, it is usually not possible to use them by simply chewing on leaves.  Drugs require considerable preparation such as boiling, scraping, and mashing.  Some must be prepared for eating, others for smoking or more unusual forms of ingestion.  The desired intoxicant is often interlaced with toxins and must be carefully isolated.  This kind of experimentation and preparation requires a modern human mind – and our species has clearly been working hard at it for a long time.  Medicine aside, every culture uses drugs, and several psychologists consider intoxication an irrepressible human drive. 66

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E. Citations

  1. Michael S. Gazzaniga, Human, Harper Collins (Kindle eBook version, 2008) p. 22.
  2. Todd Preuss, “Association Cortex Size”, Matrix of Comparative Anthropogeny (MOCA), Center for Academic Research & Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA) (c. 2011) https://carta.anthropogeny.org/moca/topics/association-cortex-size (accessed and saved 12/16/18, archived 12/15/19).
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  21. Nicholas Wade, Before the Dawn, Penguin Press (Kindle eBook version, 2006) location 4076.
  22. Lera Boroditsky, “How language shapes the way we think”, TED (November, 2017), https://www.ted.com/talks/lera_boroditsky_how_language_shapes_the_way_we_think?language=en (accessed 10/14/18).
  23. Noam Chomsky, Aspects of the Theory of Syntax, MIT Press (1965).
  24. Vyvyan Evans, “Real talk”, Aeon (12/04/14), https://aeon.co/essays/the-evidence-is-in-there-is-no-language-instinct (accessed and saved 10/14/18).
  25. Jerry A. Fodor, The Language of Thought, Harvard University Press (1975).
  26. Cognitive maps research is an outgrowth of Roger Shepard and Susan Chipman, “Second-order Isomorphism of Internal Representations: Shapes of States”, Cognitive Psychology 1, pp. 1-17 (1970), https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0010028570900022 (paysite; abstract accessed and saved 12/17/19).
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  28. Marc D. Hauser, Noam Chomsky, and W. Tecumseh Fitch, “The Faculty of Language: What is it, Who Has It, and How Did It Evolve?” Science 298 (5598): 1569-79 (11/22/2002), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12446899 (accessed and saved 10/28/18).
  29. Michael C. Corballis, The Recursive Mind, Princeton University Press (Kindle eBook version, 2011), location 92.
  30. William A. Foley, “The Languages of New Guinea”, Annu. Rev. Anthropol. vol. 29, pp. 357-404 (October, 2000), at 358.  https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.anthro.29.1.357 (accessed and saved 10/28/18).
  31. This hypothesis was proposed by Charles Darwin in Ch. 13 of On the Origin of Species (1859).  Free copy at http://friendsofdarwin.com/docs/origin-1/chapter-13/#languages ; search for the phrase “perfect pedigree”.  Corroboration recently provided by Luca Cavalli-Sforza, Eric Minch, and J. L. Mountain, “Coevolution of genes and languages revisited”, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 89(12):5620-5624 (6/15/1992), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC49344/ (accessed and saved 10/28/18).
  32. W.D. Strong, “North American Indian Traditions Suggesting a Knowledge of the Mammoth”, American Anthropologist 36(1):81-88 (Jan-Mar, 1934), https://anthrosource.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1525/aa.1934.36.1.02a00060 (accessed and saved 10/28/18).
  33. Roger Echo-Hawk, “Forging a New Ancient History for Native America”, Ch. 7 of Native Americans and Archaeologists, Nina Swindler et al., eds., AltaMira Press (London, 1997), https://www.unl.edu/rhames/courses/current/readings/hawk.pdf (accessed and saved 10/28/18).
  34. Sally McBrearty and Alison S. Brooks, “The revolution that wasn’t:  a new interpretation of the origin of modern human behavior”, Journal of Human Evolution 39(5):453-563 at 492 (Nov., 2000),  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047248400904354 (accessed and saved 10/28/18)
  35. Sally McBrearty, “The Middle Pleistocene of east Africa”, Ch. 7 of Human roots: Africa and Asia in the Middle Pleistocene, Kate Robson-Brown and Lawrence Barham, eds., University of Bristol (2001), https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/44f7/6e4e1a75856ba2a5a603f9d85c9cd716fd4b.pdf (accessed and saved 11/04/18).
  36. Marian Vanhaeren et al., “Middle Paleolithic Shell Beads in Israel and Algeria”, Science 312(5781):1785-1788 (6/23/2006), http://science.sciencemag.org/content/312/5781/1785/tab-pdf (accessed and saved 11/03/18).
  37. Ralf Kittler, Manfred Kayser, and Mark Stoneking, “Molecular Evolution of Pediculus humanus and the Origin of Clothing”, Current Biology vol. 13, issue 16, pp. 1414-1417 (8/19/2003), https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(03)00507-4 (accessed and saved 11/04/18).
  38. Alison Brooks et al., “Long-distance stone transport and pigment use in the earliest Middle Stone Age”, Science 360(6384):90-94 (4/06/2018), https://science.sciencemag.org/content/360/6384/90.full (accessed and saved 12/17/19).
  39. Christopher J. Norton and Jennie J.H. Jin, “The Evolution of Modern Human Behavior in East Asia: Current Perspectives”, Evolutionary Anthropology 18:247-260 at 251 (12/22/2009), https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/evan.20235 (accessed and saved 10/31/18).
  40. Sue O’Connor, Rintaro Ono, and Chris Clarkson, “Pelagic Fishing at 42,000 Years Before the Present and the Maritime Skills of Modern Humans”, Science 334(6059):1117-21 (11/25/2011), http://science.sciencemag.org/content/334/6059/1117 (accessed and saved 11/05/18).
  41. Dennis O’Neil, “Early Modern Human Culture”, Palomar College (1999 – 2013), https://www2.palomar.edu/anthro/homo2/mod_homo_5.htm (accessed and saved 11/05/18, archived 12/28/19).
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  44. Mellars (2015), op. cit.
  45. Richard G. Klein, The Human Career, 3ed, University of Chicago Press (2009) pp 643 – 659.
  46. McBrearty and Brooks (2000), op. cit.
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  48. The description of religion as an anthropomorphization of nature dates at least to David Hume, The Natural History of Religion (1757), full 1889 edition at https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/hume-the-natural-history-of-religion (accessed and archived 12/28/19).  Children exhibit an innate tendency to interpret natural phenomena as means toward preconceived, humanesque purposes.  See e.g. Deborah Kelemen, “The scope of teleological thinking”, Cognition 70(3):241-272, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0010027799000104?via%3Dihub (accessed and saved 2/02/20).
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  50. Nicholas Wade, The Faith Instinct, Penguin Press (Kindle ebook edition, 2009) locations 197 – 198.
  51. Deborah Kelemen, “Are Children ‘Intuitive Theists’?:  Reasoning About Purpose and Design in Nature”, Psychological Science 15(5):295-301, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.0956-7976.2004.00672.x (accessed and saved 12/28/19).
  52. Charles G. Lord, Lee Ross, and Mark R. Lepper, “Biased Assimilation and Attitude Polarization:  The Effects of Prior Theories on Subsequently Considered Evidence”, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 37(11):2098-2109 (1979), https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2F0022-3514.37.11.2098 (accessed and saved 12/07/19).
  53. Leon Festinger, Henry W. Riecken, and Stanley Schachter, When prophecy fails, University of Minnesota Press (Minneapolis, 1956) presents a dramatic modern case study of an unfalsifiable religious belief.
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  55. Stephen G. Waxman and Norman Geschwind, “The Interictal Behavior Syndrome of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy”, Arch Gen Psychiatry 32(12):1580-1586 (December, 1975), https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/article-abstract/491470 (paysite; abstract accessed 11/20/18).
  56. Michael A. Persinger, “Enhanced incidence of ‘the sensed presence’ in people who have learned to meditate: support for the right hemispheric intrusion hypothesis”, Perceptual and Motor Skills 75 (3 Pt 2):1308-10 (December, 1992), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1484802 (accessed and saved 11/20/18).
  57. Andrew Newberg, Gene d’Aquili, and Vince Rause, Why God Won’t Go Away, Ballantine Books (2001) (not peer reviewed).
  58. Hervey C. Peoples, Pavel Duda, and Frank W. Marlowe, “Hunter-Gatherers and the Origins of Religion”, Human Nature 27:261-282 (5/06/2016), https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12110-016-9260-0 (accessed and saved 1/24/21).
  59. John Matthews, The Shamanism Bible, Godsfield (London, 2013).
  60. Tylor op. cit. at 121 ff and 438 ff.
  61. Matthews op. cit. at location 1651, “Shamanism and Illness”.
  62. Erella Hovers et al., “An Early Case of Color Symbolism: Ochre Use by Modern Humans in Qafzeh Cave”, Current Anthropology 44(4):491-522 (August, 2003), https://dash.harvard.edu/handle/1/12211574 (accessed and saved 12/01/18).
  63. Peoples, Duda, and Marlowe, op. cit.  See e.g. Fig. 3, p. 271.
  64. Jamie Hampson, “Discovering Southern African Rock Art”, Rice University, http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~raar/RegionsSAarticle.html (accessed and saved 12/03/18, archived 12/29/19).
  65. Erika Bourguignon, Religion, Altered States of Consciousness, and Social Change, Ohio State University Press (1973), as summarized by Elisa Guerra-Doce, “Psychoactive Substances in Prehistoric Times: Examining the Archaeological Evidence”, Time and Mind 8:1, 91-112 at 92 (1/02/2015), https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1751696X.2014.993244 (accessed and saved 12/02/18).
  66. Helen Phillips and Graham Lawton, “The intoxication instinct”, New Scientist (11/10/2004), https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg18424735-700-the-intoxication-instinct/ (accessed and saved 12/09/18).
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