Modern Humans in the Levant; April 1993; Scientific American Magazine; by Ofer Bar-Yosef and Bernard Vandermeersch; 7 Page(s)
Between 40,000 and 45,000 years ago the material culture of western Eurasia changed more than it had during the previous million years. This eflorescence of technological and artistic creativity signifies the emergence of the first culture that observers today would recognize as distinctly human, marked as it was by unceasing invention and variety. During that brief period of 5,000 or so years, the stone tool kit, unchanged in its essential form for ages, suddenly began to differentiate wildly from century to century and from region to region.
In technical terms, the cultural revolution marked the transition from the Middle to the Upper Paleolithic ages. Why it happened and why it happened when it did constitute two of the greatest outstanding problems in paleoanthropology. The answers to those questions may hold the key to other mysteries as well, above all the nature and causes of the emergence of anatomically modern Homo sapiens.