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Africanist archaeology and ancient IQ: racial science and cultural evolution in the twenty-first century

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Over the last two decades, a number of psychometric researchers have claimed that very substantial differences in intelligence exist among modern human racial groups, as these groups are traditionally defined. According to these researchers, African populations suffer severe cognitive deficits when compared to other modern humans. Philippe Rushton, particularly, places these claimed mental deficits in an evolutionary context, advancing environmental explanations for such deficits and asserting that such cognitive differences existed prehistorically as well. Such substantial cognitive differences should be evident in human behavioural patterns, and thus in the archaeological record. Archaeological data can thus be used to test these claims about human evolutionary development and modern human cognitive difference. Examination of the archaeological record does not support the claims made by these researchers. This suggests that regional differences in IQ test score results should not be ascribed to variations in human evolutionary development.
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Keywords: African archaeology; human evolution; intelligence testing; r-/K-selection; race

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Bowdoin College, 7000 College Station, Brunswick, ME 04011, USA

Publication date: March 1, 2006

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