The Final Wave: Homo sapiens biogeography and the evolution of language

  • Telmo Pievani


Considering recent data coming from different disciplines like molecular biology and palaeontology – handled as elements of an inference towards the best explanation – here we explore the hypothesis that the development of a fully articulated language favoured key cultural innovations, which in turn pushed the last population wave of Homo sapiens out of Africa about 60 to 50K ago. Human biogeography could be the keystone for the correct interpretation of the fragmentary data concerning the so-called “Paleolithic Revolution”. It is possible that the “final wave” of people out of Africa after the period of 60K, associated with the L3 haplogroup, was the bearer of the behavioural innovations which until now have been associated with the symbolic revolution. In “The Final Wave” model, the evolutionary process is continuous, but with punctuated bursts of innovations in small populations; there is a direct liaison between biological evolution and cultural evolution (with the latter grafted onto the former); a growing interdisciplinary collection of evidence is unified in a frame stressing the role of biogeography in the evolution of cognitively modern human behaviour.
How to Cite
Pievani, T. (2012) “The Final Wave: Homo sapiens biogeography and the evolution of language”, Rivista Italiana di Filosofia del Linguaggio, 0(SFL), pp. 203-216. Available at: (Accessed: 14June2021).