Learning Behaviors Among Neanderthals and Palaeolithic Modern Humans: An Introduction

  • Yoshihiro NishiakiEmail author
  • Olaf Jöris
Part of the Replacement of Neanderthals by Modern Humans Series book series (RNMH)


The learning hypothesis put forth by the Replacement of Neanderthals by Modern Humans (RNMH) Project surmises the primary importance of the innate cognitive difference in learning abilities underlying RNMH processes. An overview of recent studies, supplemented by the contributions in this volume, shows that some of the available evidence is in support of this view, while another portion is not. This is perhaps because learning behaviors in human communities are conditioned by numerous factors, which include not only cognitive abilities in certain realms but also socio-cultural learning environments, as a product of historical developments. While learning undoubtedly played a significant role in the development of adaptive strategies among both Neanderthals and modern humans, a more balanced model seems more appropriate to explain the advantage of modern human lifeways resulting from newer and more effective learning strategies.


Learning behavior Cultural evolution Adaptive strategies Cognitive abilities Social environments 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University MuseumThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  2. 2.MONREPOS Archaeological Research Center and Museum for Human Behavioural Evolution, Schloss MonreposNeuwiedGermany

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