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View Full Version : Pre-existing cultural differences in the Near East set the stage for the Neolithic



Angela
24-06-17, 21:57
I hope Bicicleur reads this. If I understood him correctly, he was speculating that this might be the case.

See:
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-03717-6#Sec2

"An earlier revolution: genetic and genomic analyses reveal pre-existing cultural differences leading to Neolithization"

"Archaeological evidence shows that, in the long run, Neolitization (the transition from foraging to food production) was associated with demographic growth. We used two methods (patterns of linkage disequilibrium from whole-genome SNPs and MSMC estimates on genomes) to reconstruct the demographic profiles for respectively 64 and 24 modern-day populations with contrasting lifestyles across the Old World (sub-Saharan Africa, south-eastern Asia, Siberia). Surprisingly, in all regions, food producers had larger effective population sizes (Ne) than foragers already 20 k years ago, well before the Neolithic revolution. As expected, this difference further increased ~12–10 k years ago, around or just before the onset of food production. Using paleoclimate reconstructions, we show that the early difference in Ne cannot be explained by food producers inhabiting more favorable regions. A number of mechanisms, including ancestral differences in census size, sedentism, exploitation of the natural resources, social stratification or connectivity between groups, might have led to the early differences in Ne detected in our analyses. Irrespective of the specific mechanisms involved, our results provide further evidence that long term cultural differences among populations of Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers are likely to have played an important role in the later Neolithization process."

As to the first bolded comment, I think a number of papers have pointed that out. Could the sequence have been something like: more resources as climate improves, population grows, then to keep feeding this large population people begin to experiment with increasing yields?

I'm not so sure about some of the second part. My opinion has always been that the Near East was one of the global areas where agriculture and domestication of animals developed primarily because it was an area so rich in both edible flora and fauna. After all, it would be much more difficult to start farming in northeastern Europe even after the Holocene, yes? That sedentarism and cultural differences had an impact does seem sensible. People used to a nomadic way of life find it very difficult to adapt to farming.

The populations they examined were in Africa, Southeast Asia and Siberia. Are those conclusions necessarily transferable to western Eurasia?

Bergin
25-06-17, 00:31
Figure 2.
Dataset 1 and Dataset 2 are not within each-others error bars.
The trend is relatively clear, but there is some inconsistency.
Probably nothing to serious

bicicleur
25-06-17, 16:42
thank you Angela, I've read it, but I don't know what to think of it
I think the reality was to complicated for a straightforward model
but there were indeed fast growing populations after LGM and climate in some areas favoured it more than in others
and food production started where climate was favourable and population was already quite dense

bicicleur
25-06-17, 18:03
by the way I don't understand how they calculate NPP
appearantly they have 2 of them : 1 for FP and 1 for HG

bicicleur
25-06-17, 18:11
I thought perhaps you had been thinking along these lines.

From the paper:
"High population density can facilitate technical innovation, and populations in more advantageous areas that sustained higher densities might have led to the later improvement in subsistence technologies50 (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-03717-6#ref-CR50). Moreover, in modern-day hunter-gatherers a larger population relative to ecological productivity is positively correlated to complex behaviors such as sedentism, storage activity and social stratification51 (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-03717-6#ref-CR51)."

You see, I don't forget any of your comments or speculations! :)

I think you missed in the right thread Angela ;-)

It is indeed so that with larger population per PPN more creativity and more diverse strategies are required and it creates more opportunities for stratification.

I know you have a very good memory Angela, sometimes you remember my comments better than myself.
And me, I like to speculate, but when I learn of new elements, my speculations sometimes change very quickly.

Angela
25-06-17, 18:16
I think you missed in the right thread Angela ;-)

It is indeed so that with larger population per PPN more creativity and more diverse strategies are required and it creates more opportunities for stratification.

I know you have a very good memory Angela, sometimes you remember my comments better than myself.
And me, I like to speculate, but when I learn of new elements, my speculations sometimes change very quickly.

My early onset Alzheimer's takes the form of carelessness perhaps. I was just wondering where the heck my post on this thread had gone!:laughing:

Yes, you're right. Bigger populations more mutations too.