Osbjorn Pearson is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico. His research focuses on paleoanthropology, especially the origin of modern humans, and the functional morphology of the musculoskeletal system.
Statistical and biological definitions of “anatomically modern” humans: Suggestions for a unified approach to modern morphology
Version of Record online: 22 FEB 2008
Copyright © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News, and Reviews
Special Issue: Modern Human Origins in Africa
Volume 17, Issue 1, pages 38–48, January/February 2008
How to Cite
Pearson, O. M. (2008), Statistical and biological definitions of “anatomically modern” humans: Suggestions for a unified approach to modern morphology. Evol. Anthropol., 17: 38–48. doi: 10.1002/evan.20155
- Issue online: 22 FEB 2008
- Version of Record online: 22 FEB 2008
Much of the recent literature on the origin of modern humans has been plagued by an inability of the participants in the debate to agree on what constitutes “anatomically modern” morphology. An upshot of this disagreement has been an ongoing set of debates over which specimens are or are not anatomically modern and whether various fossil specimens such as the Florisbad cranium, Vindija Neanderthals, Klasies River Mouth mandibles, or Skhul-Qafzeh hominins, all of which arguably possess some supposedly “modern” traits, qualify as genuinely “modern.” Such decisions frequently have implications with regard to how we reconstruct later hominin phylogenies and, ultimately, how we reconstruct the behaviors, adaptations, and evolution of Middle-Late Pleistocene African hominins and their contemporaries.