Life without symbolic behavior?

Humans become anatomically modern at 200 kya, yet many of the things that make us human, language, symbolic behavior, and a structured use of space, don’t really appear until 50 to 30 kya. So what does this mean? How did we exist for 150 thousand years without doing any of the things that really make us human? Symbols are the defining characteristic of being human, as has been suggested by one of my professors. One can certainly suggest that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but certainly we should have recovered something that suggests for symbolic behavior before 50 kya by now. I don’t have much to offer in way of explanation, but I do think its a productive thought – does being anatomically modern at 200 kya still make us human?


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