History of the Foundation

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Wenner-Gren International Symposium #139 group Photo
Seated: A. Nowell, A. Belfer-Cohen, A. Sumner, L. Wadley, L. Aiello, F. Pinto, M. Haidle Back: F. Aboitiz, S. Ambrose, R. Welshon, T. Wynn, E. Reuland, M. Rossano, R. Engle, F. Coolidge, I. Davidson, M. Martin-Loeches, P. Barnard Not Pictured: E. Bruner

March 7-14, 2008
Fortaleza do Guincho, Cascais, Portugal


PUBLICATION: "Working Memory: Beyond Language and Symbolism" Guest Edited by Thomas Wynn and Fredrick L. Coolidge. Current Anthropology 51(Supplement 1), June 2010.



Current Anthropology CoverLeslie C. Aiello (Wenner-Gren Foundation, USA)
Francisco Aboitiz (Pontificia U. Catolica de Chile)
Stanley H. Ambrose (U. Illinois, USA)
Philip Barnard (U. Cambridge, UK)
Anna Belfer-Cohen (The Hebrew U., Israel)
Emiliano Bruner (Centro Nacional de Investigacion sobre la Evolucion Humana, Spain)
Frederick L. Coolidge, organizer (U. Colorado, USA)
Iain Davidson (U. New England, Australia)
Randall Engle (Georgia Institute of Technology, USA)
Miriam Haidle (Eberhard Karls U., Germany)
Manuel Martin-Loeches (Center UCM-isciii for Human Evolution & Behavior, Spain)
April Nowell (U. Victoria, Canada)
Fatima Pinto (Wenner-Gren Foundation, Portugal) 
Eric Reuland (Utrecht U., Netherlands)
Matt Rossano (Southeastern Louisiana U., USA)
T. Alexandra Sumner, monitor (U. Toronto, Canada)
Lyn Wadley (U. Witwatersrand, South Africa)
Rex Welshon (U. Colorado, USA)
Tom Wynn, organizer (U. Colorado, USA)

Final Report

The last two decades have witnessed an intense and often contentious debate in paleoanthropology concerning the evolution of modern humans and the modern human mind. Perhaps the most remarkable feature of this debate has been its naivety concerning the modern mind itself. Instead of incorporating the great strides made by recent cognitive science in understanding the nature of the brain and cognition, paleoanthropology (with the exception of a few paleoneurologists) has eschewed this literature almost entirely, preferring instead to fall back on vague, ill-defined terms from the common lexicon (e.g. ‘abstract', ‘complex', and ‘symbolic') or, equally as often, o