This review summarizes current thinking about the concept of modern behavior in the context of Neandertals and anatomically modern humans. The decoupling of modern anatomy and modern behavior has prompted researchers to reframe studies of the emergence of modern humans as a debate that explicitly focuses on the origins of behavioral modernity making its intersection with modern anatomy a point of discussion rather than a given. Four questions arise from this debate: () What is modern behavior? () Is the emergence of modern behavior sudden or more gradual? () Is modern behavior unique to modern humans or more widely shared with other species, most notably the Neandertals? () Is the emergence of modern behavior primarily the result of new cognitive abilities or social, cultural, demographic, and historic factors? This review briefly addresses each of these questions and in the process offers some thoughts on the current state of the debate.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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