Paleoanthropology came late to the New Evolutionary Synthesis, but when it did so it capitulated completely; so much so, that even fifty years later many practitioners have had difficulty adapting to newer paradigms of the evolutionary process. Minimalist interpretations of the human fossil record are still favored, with species such as Homo erectus being used in a hugely inclusionary sense to represent a "middle" stage in linear models of human evolution, whereas a rapidly growing human fossil record indicates high diversity among past hominid species. An examination of pattern in human evolution, where there is a great deal of stasis and behavioral and anatomical innovations occur out of phase, indicates that the species Homo sapiens is not the issue of a single gradually modifying lineage. Instead it is one single terminal twig on a luxuriant bush, and its unique cognitive qualities are better explained by a combination of exaptation and emergence than as a simple extrapolation of the trends that preceded it. Parole chiave: Emergenza, Esattamento, Evoluzione umana, Filogenesi, Processo evolutivo, Selezione naturale.
Keywords: Emergence, Evolutionary process, Exaptation, Human evolution, Natural selection, Phylogeny.