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Title: The archaeology of cognitive evolution
Contributor(s): Davidson, Iain  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2010
DOI: 10.1002/wcs.40
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Abstract: This discussion of archeology of cognition is concerned primarily with the evolutionary emergence of the cognition particular to modern humans but there is an implication for the evolution of cognition among modern humans. Archaeological evidence can provide important insights into the evolutionary emergence of human cognition, but theoretical considerations are fundamental in understanding what sorts of cognition there might have been between the ape-like common ancestor and modern humans. Archeology is the only source of evidence for the behavior associated with such theoretical stages. Cognitive archeology, therefore, involves an iterative interaction between theory from outside archeology and more or less direct evidence from the past. This review considers the range of possible evidence from archeology and genetics and summarizes some of the results of analysis of nonhuman primates particularly to assess characteristics of the last common ancestor (LCA) of apes and humans. The history of changes in size and shape of the brain since separation from other apes introduces the need to assess the appropriate cognitive theories to interpret such evidence. The review concentrates on two such approaches: Baddeley's working memory model as interpreted by Coolidge and Wynn, and Barnard’s interacting cognitive subsystems as it has been elaborated to define the cognitive conditions for hominins between the LCA and modern people. Most of the rest of the review considers how the evidence from stone tools might be consistent with such theoretical models of cognition. This evidence is consistent with views that modern human behavior only emerged in the last 100,000 years (or so) but it gives an explanation for that in terms of cognition.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 1(2), p. 214-229
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Place of Publication: United Kingdom
ISSN: 1939-5078
Field of Research (FOR): 210105 Archaeology of Europe, the Mediterranean and the Levant
210102 Archaeological Science
210103 Archaeology of Asia, Africa and the Americas
210104 Archaeology of Australia (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander)
210101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Archaeology
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO): 950503 Understanding Australias Past
950501 Understanding Africas Past
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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