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date: 27 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article highlights the impact of relatively recent developments in dating techniques and genetic analyses on the study of the evolution of modern humans in Africa. It also provides a historical context within which to view the emergence of the current working consensus of what constitutes modern human behaviour. It uses Kuhn’s (1970) well-known model of paradigm change in the natural sciences to present that context. The concept of paradigm shift provides a foundation for anticipating the inevitable challenges to the existing consensus and for predicting directions for further research. The emphasis on change also throws into relief underlying continuities in the conceptualisation of the process and tempo of modern human evolution.

Keywords: dating techniques, human evolution, Africa, genetic analyses, modern human behaviour, Kuhn’s paradigm change

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