The Human Condition
(Developments in Primatology Progress and Prospects)
by Robert Bednarik
Edition. 1st., 2011
With seven succinct chapters, The Human Condition is relatively short and engaging. It opens with a discussion of the history and philosophy of science that focuses on Pleistocene archeology. The author observes that this subfield has traditionally relied largely on tool types that are represented cross-culturally, rather than on more dynamic cultural customs that can shed light on the emergence of human consciousness. A persuasive case is made that archeological narratives about the early human past are probably largely false. One such narrative is the dogma that cultural change and evolution were relatively static before the advent of the Upper Paleolithic around 45,000 years ago, at which point there was a “quantum leap” or “explosion” in western and central Europe that resulted in the sudden emergence of the characteristics that distinguish modern humans—language, art, symbol systems, self-awareness, etc. A link is described between this short-range narrative and
the “African Eve” model, according to which modern humans are all descended from one female Homo sapiens who migrated from Africa with a group of superior humans that, eventually, expanded and replaced all of the other hominin species.