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Abstract

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.