The Rise of Homo sapiens: The Evolution of Modern Thinking / Edition 1

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The Rise of Homo Sapiens: The Evolution of Human Thinking presents a provocative theory about the evolution of the modern mind based on archaeological evidence and the working memory model of experimental psychologist Alan Baddeley. The book explains the mystery of the disappearance of the Neandertals and the ascendancy of modern Homo sapiens - and whether this was at the expense of the Neandertals.

The Rise of Homo Sapiens has been written to introduce scientists and students to the fascinating interface between the worlds of archaeology and cognitive science, and argues that the evolution of modern thinking occurred in two major leaps; the advent of Homo erectus over 1.5 million years ago, and a final enhancement of working memory capacity sometime within the last 200,000 years. The authors argue that highly ritualized burials, personal ornaments, cave art and highly creative figurines, and age and gender divisions of economic labor, all of which were characteristic of Homo sapiens about 30,000 years ago, were clearly products of their cognitive functions, e.g., central executive functions. Neandertals, living at the same time, had virtually none of these cultural products despite larger brains! This is the first book to explain elaborately how thinking differences between Homo sapiens and Neandertals may have accounted for the ultimate demise of Neandertals.

Cognitive archaeology is a quickly growing discipline yet archaeologists have been slow to adopt current theories, models, and findings within contemporary cognitive science. The Rise of Homo Sapiens will serve as a unique introduction and primer into both disciplines.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In this well-structured book, a useful introduction lays out the main points of the volume, followed by three chapters devoted to the biological, neurological, and evolutionary aspects of the human brain . . . regardless of this difference of opinions, for those who missed the series of papers published by the two authors over the last decade, this book is a good way to catch up and to ponder some influential ideas in the research on modern humans." (Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 2011)

"Coolidge and Wynn offer many useful insights into hominid cognition and provide a framework for model building and testing that can generate unequivocal results. The real contribution of The Rise of Homo sapiens, then, is not in its conclusions, but in its methodological commitments." (Journal of Anthropological Research, 2010)"The book presents some intriguing ideas and offers alternative support for those who see a recent origin for modern human behaviour." (South African Archaeological Bulletin, 2010)

“Coolidge and Wynn have written a clear, well-researched book that provides a strongly reasoned theoretical argument.” (PsycCRITIQUES, 2009)

“This volume will be of considerable interest to anyone working in the cognitive sciences, notably anthropologists, archaeologists, and neuropsychologists.” (CHOICE, October 2009)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405152549
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 4/14/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 318
  • Sales rank: 839,162
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2012

    Good book

    Accurate, well writen and thought provoking. Great book for evolution students, but don't have to have too much of a scientific background to understand. Going to use this book and some of the articles it referanced in my thesis.

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