The origin of modern humans continues to be a major topic in paleoanthropology. The debate over the mode of the origin of modern humans – was it a single, recent origin or global and gradual – continues, but new genetic evidence adds further support to the notion of a single, recent origin. Some of this evidence comes in the form of mitochondrial DNA analysis of a Neanderthal specimen from the northern Caucasus. The announcement, in mid-2003, of a 160,000-year-old specimen of early Homo sapiens from Ethiopia also strengthens the argument for a single, recent origin, in Africa. Becoming more center stage in discussions over modern human origins, however, is the evolution of modern human behavior. Was it recent and dramatic, or more gradual, with deeper roots? Evidence for the latter is growing. All these aspects of the debate are updated in this edition in what remains a strong contribution to Human Evolution.
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