How Did Modern Humans Originate
Article first published online: 15 OCT 2012
© 2012 by the American Anthropological Association. All Rights reserved.
Volume 19, Issue 2, pages 1–6, Fall 2012
How to Cite
Wolpoff, M. H. and Caspari, R. (2012), How Did Modern Humans Originate. General Anthropology, 19: 1–6. doi: 10.1111/j.1939-3466.2012.00008.x
- Issue published online: 15 OCT 2012
- Article first published online: 15 OCT 2012
People alive today and their immediate ancestors—modern humans—had multiple ancestors in the Middle Pleistocene. They did not originate as a new clade—the unique descendants of a recent, small African population. Therefore, the anatomical, behavioral, and genetic aspects of their modernity are not tied together in their origin. Instead, these key components of modernity have different origins and evolutionary pathways that can be understood as distinct, although interrelated, processes. Each process characterizes all living and recent human populations, and their interrelationship derives from a shared unifying factor: changes in human demographic history originating as the consequence of increased adult survivorship. Longer lifespans helped make humans modern.