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Cognitive Changes and the Emergence of Modern Humans in Europe

  • Paul Mellars (a1)
Abstract

Explicitly symbolic behaviour is usually seen as the hallmark of the behavioural transition from the Middle to the Upper Palaeolithic in Europe. It is suggested here that this new symbolic component is reflected not only in art and personal ornamentation, but also in the design and form of stone tools, and perhaps also in features such as the organization of living structures. All these new features could be argued to reflect the emergence of typically Upper Palaeolithic ‘culture’ and technology. Whether these features can be correlated directly with the transition from archaic to modern skeletal forms remains more problematic; and whether the changes need reflect any significant shift in the neurological capacities for behaviour and cognition is equally controversial.

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