A Framework of Common Belief We are Homo sapiens, capable of subtlety, of passing on knowledge and ideas through the medium of language. We have consciousness and self-awareness and are capable of foresight. We can express ourselves and show emotions. Mitochondrial DNA researches trace the roots of modern humans back to tropical Africa between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago. Archaeology tells us that Homo sapiens had settled in western Asia by 95,000 years ago; and in western Europe, replacing earlier Neanderthal populations, by 45,000 years before the present. Sometime during this ancient diaspora, we anatomically modern people developed a unique capacity for symbolic and spiritual thought, for defining the boundaries of existence, and for conceptualizing the relationship between the individual, the group, and the cosmos. We do not know when these capabilities first developed, but late Ice Age cave art and sculptures tells us that humans had melded the living and spiritual worlds by at least 34,000 years ago.