Light Has Been Thrown (on Human Origins): a Brief History of Palaeoanthropology, with Notes on the "Punctuated" Origin of Homo Sapiens

Giorgio Manzi, Fabio Di Vincenzo


“Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history”: this was the single line that Charles Darwin devoted to human evolution in the Origin of Species (1859). At present, there is a number of extinct species, which we understand  to be related to human evolution, demonstrating that the Darwin’s prediction was correct: light has been thrown, indeed. Moreover, the science of human origin (or palaeoanthropology) appears to be able to shed much light not only on the natural history of humankind, but also on mechanisms and patterns of "evolution" as a general phenomenon. This is of special interest when we focus on data and hypotheses concerning the origin of our own species, Homo sapiens.


evolutionary aesthetics; human evolution; palaeoanthropology; phylogenetic trees; ontogeny

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