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Modeling human ecodynamics and biocultural interactions in the Late Pleistocene of western Eurasia

TitleModeling human ecodynamics and biocultural interactions in the Late Pleistocene of western Eurasia
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsBarton, CMichael, Riel-Salvatore, J, Anderies, JM, Popescu, G
JournalHuman Ecology
Keywordsbehavioral ecology, Eurasia, lithic technology, mobility, Neanderthal, Pleistocene

Given the complex and multidimensional nature of human evolution, we need to develop theoretical and methodological frameworks to account for and model the dynamic feedbacks between co-operational biological and cultural evolutionary systems to better understand the processes that produced modern human behavior. Equally important is the generation of explicit theory-baed models that can be tested agains the empirical paleoanthropological record. With the aim of advancing multi-dimensional research on human biocultural evolution, we present a case study that examines evidence for culturally-driven behavioral change among Late Pleistocene hominins that altered the social niche occupied by hominins in western Eurasia, with consequences for subsequent biological and cultural evolution. We draw on a large sample of 167 Pleistocene assemblages across western Eurasia as data for this study, and employ mathematical and computational modeling to explore the feedbacks between cultural and biological inheritance. Shifts in land-use strategies changed the opportunities for social and biological interaction among Late Pleistocene hominins in western Eurasia with a cascade of consequences for cultural and biological evolution. Among these consequences were the disappearance of Neanderthals from the fossil and archaeological records, and the acceleration of cultural evolution among ancestors of modern humans.

Refereed DesignationRefereed
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