29. Modern Human Origins

  1. David R. Begun
  1. Mark Collard and
  2. Mana Dembo

Published Online: 14 JAN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118332344.ch29

A Companion to Paleoanthropology

A Companion to Paleoanthropology

How to Cite

Collard, M. and Dembo, M. (2013) Modern Human Origins, in A Companion to Paleoanthropology (ed D. R. Begun), Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Oxford. doi: 10.1002/9781118332344.ch29

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 14 JAN 2013
  2. Published Print: 25 FEB 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444331165

Online ISBN: 9781118332344



  • African replacement model;
  • assimilation model;
  • human fossils;
  • hybridization and replacement model;
  • modern human origins


This chapter overviews the current state of research on modern human origins. It is divided into two main sections. The first section outlines the four models such as African replacement model, hybridization and replacement model, assimilation model, and multiregional evolution model, which need to be taken into account when discussing modern human origins. The modern human origins debate has been hampered by ambiguities in the way some of the models in question have been characterized. The section discusses these ambiguities and suggests revisions to models that reduce the uncertainty. The second section reviews how well the available anatomical, genetic, and linguistic evidence support the predictions of the models. Anatomical, genetic, and linguistic research on modern human origins has tended to focus on three issues: structure of living human variation, timing of the appearance of modern humans, and evidence for occurrence of gene flow between modern humans and nonmodern hominins.