This book is the first to focus on the African origins of human language. It explores the origins of language and culture 250,000-150,000 years ago when modern humans evolved in Africa. Scholars from around the world address the fossil, genetic, and archaeological evidence and critically examine the ways it has been interpreted. The book also considers parallel developments among Europe's Neanderthals and the contrasting outcomes for the two species. Following an extensive introduction contextualizing and linking the book's topics and approaches, fifteen chapters bring together many of the most significant recent findings and developments in modern human origins research. The fields represented by the authors include genetics, biology, behavioural ecology, linguistics, archaeology, cognitive science, and anthropology.