人类发明了现代性吗?

化石遗迹和遗传讯息显示现代人来自非洲。在过去的十年里,人类学家、考古学家、语言学家和其他科学家们都试图将我们人类的生物起源与现代智能的起源统一起来。这一概念非常简单。我们这个物种在非洲出现的进程赋予了我们一些优势-有句法可循的语言、发达的认知能力和符号思维-正是这些优势使我们能够分布到整个世界并决定了我们最终的进化成功。

但如果这些优势是显著的,并且主要由生物性变化决定的,那么我们就应该可以发现它们从这些早期的、在解剖学上已可被称为现代人的人口所创造的物质文化中反映出来。复杂的技术,在工具的设计和装饰方面的地区性特点,颜料的使用,抽象和具象的描画,墓葬,陪葬品和个人装饰物都是常见的持久性创造物。它们可以证明以人种学的方式记录下来的人类文化所具有的复杂的符号性特点。

具体而言,我们应该在非洲的遗址上发现这些距今10-20万年之间的考古证据。但我们真正发现的却是在非洲及其以外的地点逐步出现的,距今20-30万年的行为创新。另外,解剖学上的现代人与穴居人有一些共同的行为创新。而许多人类学家和遗传学家都认为穴居人是一个不同的种群,或是一种在先天就达不到我们的认知能力的人类。

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