Dating the Origin of Us
When did “behaviorally modern humans” (BMHs)—i.e., us, the single species that has taken over the planet using our unusual cognitive abilities—first arise? We do not know for sure, but anthropogeny, which takes a systematic approach to explaining human origins, offers some clues. Advances in anthropogeny require a broad array of information gathered from numerous disciplines. But most human-origin events are shrouded in mystery and difficult to reconstruct, making this a discipline where setting up thought experiments could be useful.