The great flowering of culture we enjoy from our Cro-Magnon ancestors was not evidence of a cleverer, ‘more evolved’ people but because the demographic, social, environmental and cultural changes that occurred at this time in Europe drove cultural complexity. Ice-age populations might have been particularly dependent on trade networks for food and resources, and these would also have led to an exchange in cultural ideas and traits. And new environments produce cultural adaptations that would have been unnecessary for societies continuing to live in the same conditions. Cultural complexity takes time to build up, so generally the trend is towards a greater number of technologies and practices. This is not a reflection of the individuals’ biology or intellectual capabilities, but rather the complexity of their societies.
In the coming decades, with new techniques, we’ll uncover ever more evidence of early complex culture at sites across the world.Gaia Vince, “Ancient, yet cosmopolitan” at Aeon
Maybe there is something different about human beings after all and that is just the point.