Modeling Human Ecodynamics and Biocultural Interactions in the Late Pleistocene of Western Eurasia

C Michael Barton, Julien Riel-Salvatore, John Anderies, Gabriel Popescu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

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-based models that can be tested against the empirical paleoanthropological record. 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 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, including the disappearance of Neanderthals from the fossil and archaeological records, and the acceleration of cultural evolution among ancestors of modern humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)705-725
Number of pages21
JournalHuman Ecology
Volume39
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011

Keywords

  • Agent-based simulation
  • Behavioral ecology
  • Eurasia
  • Land-use
  • Lithic technology
  • Mobility
  • Modeling
  • Neanderthal
  • Pleistocene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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