The beginnings of modern human cultural complexity can be traced back at least 100,000 years in Africa and the Middle East. African sites have extensive evidence of the use of red iron oxide pigments, for colouring shell beads and (probably also) the human body, while in the Middle East there are cave sites in Israel with shell beads (one is pictured from the site of Skhul), pigments, and human burials with associated grave goods such as deer antlers.

This species is a large-brained biped, tool-making and tool-using, with an ancestral hunter-gatherer lifestyle, now extended to pastoralism, agriculture and industrialised urbanism.

Behaviour includes complex treatment of the dead, and symbolism including:

  • representational art
  • music
  • religious beliefs
  • complex language
  • complex social systems