A reader writes:
"And a conviction is growing among some archaeologists that there was no sweeping transformation to “behavioral modernity” in our species’ recent past."
Heh? I've been in anthropology for forty years, and have studied these matters in the history of the discipline going back much further. I've have little idea what this assertion is about a "sweeping transformation to “behavioral modernity” in our species’ recent past. Anthropologists have rarely ever offered such a depiction of our evolution.
The popular media, on the other hand, has indeed worked over the meme of the cave man endlessly. For one, it has been thirty years+ since anthropologists began insisting that hunting of big game was only part of the scenario, that "gathering" of foodstuffs and hunting of small game was easily as important, and that sociality was probably very complex and varied.