chapter  4
17 Pages

Becoming wise

What can anthropologists say about the evolution of human wisdom?
WithMarc Kissel

In order to understand how the human cultural niche evolved across the Pleistocene, to interrogate how wisdom evolved, we need a better understanding of the actual archaeological data that inform this question. To properly contextualize the data, address these conflicts, and begin to more effectively and systematically answer questions about the emergence of modern human behaviour we created an open-access database resource, the Worldwide Instances of Symbolic Data Outlining Modernity. Using these data, I show how the processes of hominins becoming human occurred significantly earlier than has previously been argued. In fact, many of the behaviours that have been seen as markers of humanity, and solely in the purview of Homo sapiens, in fact can be seen in Homo erectus. This suggests that either these behaviours are not markers of human behaviour in the strict sense or that we have been acting ‘modern’ for far longer than previously believed.