Section 1


Outline of Human Phylogeny

Evolutionary Trees
and DNA

Brain Evolution

Hand and Bipedality

Section 2
Social and socio-
cultural systems

Primate societies

Social relations and the evolution of culture

Social relations, communication and cognition

Human socio-cultural patterns

Tools and symbolic behaviour

Palaeolithic Art

Contemporary hunter-gatherer art

Section 3
Ontogeny and symbolism

Editorial Introduction: Ontogeny & Phylogeny

The role of ontogenesis

Brain, cognition, and language

Early interaction and cognitive skills

Language and thought

Theories of symbolization
and development

Children's drawings and the evolution of art

Section 4
Language systems

Spoken language and
sign language

The gestural primacy hypothesis

Comparative cognition

Animal language and cognition

Language acquisition


The prehistory of grammar

Writing systems


Links Policy

Relevant Links

On the evolution of human socio-cultural patterns

Randall White

The reconstruction of the development sequence of human socio- cultural evolution is one of the most important and difficult goals of prehistoric archaeology. Until recently, such reconstruction was accomplished speculatively by extrapolating from the present. Archaeologists have now developed a series of methods, many of them unfamiliar to the lay public, for monitoring changes in social patterns and complexity. Applied to the prehistoric record, these methods make possible a general summary of major trends in the evolution of human social patterns. It is clear that prior to 35 000 years ago hominid social patterns were very different from those of the more recent past. Subsequent to 35 000 years ago hominid behaviours reminiscent of those of the present emerged rapidly, and set the stage for the socially complex world of modern times.