Behavioral modernity  

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Behavioral modernity is a term used in anthropology, archeology and sociology to refer to a list of traits that distinguish present day humans and their recent ancestors from both living primates and other extinct hominid lineages. It is the point at which Homo sapiens began to demonstrate a reliance on abstract thought and to express cultural creativity. These developments are often thought to be associated with the origin of language.

There are two main theories regarding when modern human behavior emerged. Proponents of this theory refer to this event as the Great Leap Forward or the Upper Paleolithic Revolution.

The second theory holds that there was never any single technological or cognitive revolution. Proponents of this view argue that modern human behavior is basically the result of the gradual accumulation of knowledge, skills and culture occurring over hundreds of thousands of years of human evolution. Proponents of this view include Stephen Oppenheimer in his book Out of Eden, and John Skoyles and Dorion Sagan in their book Up from Dragons: The evolution of human intelligence.

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