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Thread: How many lived during the Aurignacian?

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    2 out of 3 members found this post helpful.

    How many lived during the Aurignacian?



    See:Isabel Schmidtt et al

    https://journals.plos.org/plosone/ar...l.pone.0211562

    "Demographic estimates are presented for the Aurignacian techno-complex (~42,000 to 33,000 y calBP) and discussed in the context of socio-spatial organization of hunter-gatherer populations. Results of the analytical approach applied estimate a mean of 1,500 persons (upper limit: 3,300; lower limit: 800) for western and central Europe. The temporal and spatial analysis indicates an increase of the population during the Aurignacian as well as marked regional differences in population size and density. Demographic increase and patterns of socio-spatial organization continue during the subsequent early Gravettian period. We introduce the concept of Core Areas and Extended Areas as informed analytical spatial scales, which are evaluated against additional chronological and archaeological data. Lithic raw material transport and personal ornaments serve as correlates for human mobility and connectedness in the interpretative framework of this study. Observed regional differences are set in relation with the new demographic data. Our large-scale approach on Aurignacian population dynamics in Europe suggests that past socio-spatial organization followed socially inherent rules to establish and maintain a functioning social network of extremely low population densities. The data suggest that the network was fully established across Europe during the early phase of the Gravettian, when demographic as well as cultural developments peaked."

    [IMG][/IMG]


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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Wow, it is hard to believe they were only so few!!! I would have guessed around 50k.
    Be wary of people who tend to glorify the past, underestimate the present, and demonize the future.

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    Razib Khan's take on it:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnwL...83D9357E45F1F9

    The fact that Europe had so few inhabitants at certain periods might explain the high level of population turnover.

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    What?! 1500, upper limit 3300? I had had my own speculative musings about this matter, but I had estimated, based on the average Neolithic density and the supposed population growth after Neolithization, something like 40-80k for the whole continent. 1500 is incredibly sparse settlement even for Paleolithic levels. If their groups were basically small clan settlements, each with only 30 people, that would mean only 50 bands through the entirety of Europe, about 200,000 sq.km. for each of them. It surprises me then that the population structure among them was not even much bigger even if only through drift.

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    I think there must have been more than 1500-3300. Maybe several dozen times more.
    Here is a map of 25 Aurignacian settlements discovered only in Romania. And probably are many more uncovered.


    1 Remetea Somos¸; 2 Boinesti; 3 Calinesti; 4 Busag; 5 Mitoc (Malul Galben/Valea Izvorului); (6 Ripiceni-Izvor/Stânca); 7-10 Ceahlau Basin (Bistricioara-Lutarie I, Podis, Cetatica, Dârtu); 11-12 Cremenea (Poienita/Malu Dinu Buzea); 13 Lapos; 14 Mamaia-sat; 15 Giurgiu Malu Rosu; 16 Ciuperceni; 17 Vadastra; 18 Muierii Cave; 19 Bordu Mare Cave; 20 Cioclovina Cave; 21 Hotilor Cave; 22 Oase Cave; 23 Tincova; 24 Românesti-Dumbravita; 25 Cosava.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gidai View Post
    I think there must have been more than 1500-3300. Maybe several dozen times more.
    Here is a map of 25 Aurignacian settlements discovered only in Romania. And probably are many more uncovered.

    Excuse me? Did you read the abstract?

    "he key position held by Romania's territory for the available scenarios regarding the expansion of the Upper Paleolithic “cultural package” in Europe has been recently reinforced by the finds of the oldest European Homo sapiens sapiens remains in the Oase Cave (Southwestern Romania). However, in spite of its paradigmatic association to the first anatomically modern humans in Europe, the Aurignacian in Romania remained inadequately known and rarely referred to in the European literature. The poor descriptions of the Aurignacian-called lithic industries and their unusually young numerical chronology or geochronological estimations explain this caution. A brief evaluation of the available information regarding these issues is proposed. Based on a comparatively restricted definition of the Aurignacian variability as acknowledged in the recent European literature (e.g. numerical chronology, large retouched blades, bladelet production from carinated forms, bone industry), the present approach DISMISSES many postulates widely held in Romanian literature: the local origin, the WIDE OCCURRENCE and the late survival of the Aurignacian. However, given the lack of numerical dates and the fragmentary state of most archaeological collections, the precise timing of its emergence and the details of its regional evolution require further research."

    Take the ones you found for Romania and add them to the rest found in Europe. Oh, and read the original paper while you're at it.

    Yes, this scientist who spent ten years of her life researching this topic is wrong, but you are right.

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    Angela,
    I'm not an archaeologist. But I think that the first people who have entered Europe have gradually expanded their territory to the rest of Europe first settling in these space. It is logical.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygorcs View Post
    What?! 1500, upper limit 3300? 1500 is incredibly sparse settlement even for Paleolithic levels. If their groups were basically small clan settlements, each with only 30 people, that would mean only 50 bands through the entirety of Europe, about 200,000 sq.km. for each of them.
    Definitely it is an absurd small number.

    The archaeological site of Mitoc - Malu Galben has a stratigraphic profile of 14 m. It was found that this resort was inhabited, almost continuously, over 12 millennia, between about 33,000-32,000 to 23,000-20,000 years BP. ...I think this indicates that at that time there was a much higher concentration than 30 inhabitants in 200,000 square kilometers, and having a great space as Romania's is, but they all thought to stay many millennia in a minuscule area like Mitoc.

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    Saraca de tine!... Poti sa raspunzi cu argumente decat sa te razbuni prosteste depunctind cu 80 de puncte orice postare la care nu ai argument? Din acest moment nu mai ai nici un fel de respect din partea mea. ...iuz goagal transleit.

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    Interesting, I'd just recently read a paper by a German author about population sizes in the ensuing periods. The late Gravettien was rock bottom for European foragers with an estimated population of 700-1500. The population then rises relatively steadily in spite of advancing glaciers with 4900-10700 people living in the Magdalenien.

    https://www.researchgate.net/publica...he_Magdalenian

    Most of this is well reflected in the DNA record, except of course the Mesolithic transition and the appearance of the WHGs who replaced the seemingly thriving Magdalenians. Where did they come from and why were they more successful than previous populations? The obvious piece missing for a relatively complete picture of pre-Neolithic Europe would now be samples from the early layers of the Franchthi cave I suppose.

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    I just checked population of Greenland in the past. First census was in 1805 with Greenland having 5 thousand people. Exclusively coastal population living of the sea, the traditional way back then.
    I wonder if this could be extrapolated on Ice Age Europe? Not exactly apples to apples comparison, but it gives us an idea that population wasn't numerous by any stretch. However around 1 thousand is a puny number for whole Europe even during Ice Age.

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    Very interesting! I wonder if this had something to with brain size, since the early upper Paleolithic (Aurignacian) to later upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic (Gravettian + Solutrian and Magdalenian) shifts in European populations seem to reduce the average cranial capacity from 1585 cc to 1493 cc (both of which are still much larger than contemporary population pretty much anywhere iirc) and the populations increase from ~1500 to perhaps over 20,000 (at least as far as I know). I know that more intelligent people tend to reproduce less, but this is just insane! Also, those guys in northwestern France seem to be pretty lonely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aleph View Post
    Very interesting! I wonder if this had something to with brain size, since the early upper Paleolithic (Aurignacian) to later upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic (Gravettian + Solutrian and Magdalenian) shifts in European populations seem to reduce the average cranial capacity from 1585 cc to 1493 cc (both of which are still much larger than contemporary population pretty much anywhere iirc) and the populations increase from ~1500 to perhaps over 20,000 (at least as far as I know). I know that more intelligent people tend to reproduce less, but this is just insane! Also, those guys in northwestern France seem to be pretty lonely.
    Definitely, the Aurignacians were simply too intelligent not to starve or freeze to death.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Razib Khan's take on it:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnwL...83D9357E45F1F9

    The fact that Europe had so few inhabitants at certain periods might explain the high level of population turnover.

    Wrong link?

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    Quote Originally Posted by markod View Post
    Definitely, the Aurignacians were simply too intelligent not to starve or freeze to death.
    I mean, just look at the lion-man statue and the Aurignacian cave paintings- they certainly seem to be more detailed than the Gravettian ones.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aleph View Post
    Very interesting! I wonder if this had something to with brain size, since the early upper Paleolithic (Aurignacian) to later upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic (Gravettian + Solutrian and Magdalenian) shifts in European populations seem to reduce the average cranial capacity from 1585 cc to 1493 cc (both of which are still much larger than contemporary population pretty much anywhere iirc) and the populations increase from ~1500 to perhaps over 20,000 (at least as far as I know). I know that more intelligent people tend to reproduce less, but this is just insane! Also, those guys in northwestern France seem to be pretty lonely.
    Well, I don't know if they were very inteligente just because they had a larger cranial capacity (that's not the only or even main thing that matters to determine intelligence, the way the brain is "wired" may matter even more), but I think we can say they were not that smart and ingenuous if they never managed to use their natural environment's carrying capacity to a fuller degree at least to maintain a population higher than 800-3,330, which is insanely low even for the standards of the Upper Paleolithic. Also, I do not think there is a proof that even in pre-modern, completely rural conditions more intelligent people tend to reproduce less (of course not including exceptionally gifted outliers). We shouldn't project our extremely recent demographic experience in industrial modern societies onto the distant past, when social life and incentives to reproduction (or lack thereof) worked in a completely different way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aleph View Post
    Wrong link?
    Sorry, Aleph. Here it is:

    https://www.gnxp.com/WordPress/2019/...r-many-humans/

    "If you read The genetic history of Ice Age Europe you know the very first modern humans to arrive in Europe didn’t leave a genetic footprint in future populations. And the impact of both the later Gravettian and the Magdalenian seems to have been marginal. The primary “hunter-gatherer” contribution to modern Europeans is through a group which expanded after ~15,000 BC.

    "
    In any case, there are two things that I observe in relation to the population estimates above. First, they aren’t that unreasonable for a large mammal which isn’t much of a primary consumer of plants. Second, such a small and fragmented population indicates that extinction is always a possibility. You can take a standard conservation biological view and just assume statistically that small fragmented groups are likely to extinct over enough generations. Or, you can point out that genetically such small breeding populations (remember that the genetic breeding effective population is always smaller than the census population) are likely to build up deleterious alleles, and that’s probably going to result in a decrease of long term fitness."

    They had such a hard time surviving that they practiced infanticide to better their odds.


    I've been saying the following for more than ten years, always to a loud chorus of: NO! :)

    "The small populations during this period are not surprising. Many of the Neanderthal, Denisovan, and hunter-gatherer (e.g., the first WHG sample) populations had small sizes that led to homogeneity genetically and inbreeding. You see it in the homozygosity data and the runs of homozygosity. Ultimately, it was the larger population sizes due to agriculture which changed things in a fundamental sense."

    The Mesolithic people were more successful because they had the points and the weapons to hunt the smaller game of their time period. If Bicicleur sees this I hope he chimes in. He has a lot of knowledge about that.

    Perhaps the New World Indians are an informative example. In the farming regions populations were very high. Even with the more favorable climate and landscape, the more hunter-gatherer groups in parts of North America were not very numerous at all, and they did farm a little, at least the ones in the Northeast and the south.

    LeBroc's example is on point as well. Greenland is huge, but it could only support 1,000 people.

    On the other hand, Southwest Asia in the time of the Natufians seems to have been a paradise for hunter-gatherers, and their numbers grew.

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    Interesting comment:

    Iron Gates fits great as a mix of Gravettian, Anatolians, ANE, and extra ENA. I don’t think any of them disappeared, but mixed with newcomers. WHG is a mix of Iron Gates-related groups and Magdalenians.
    That would explain the vexing invisible WHG issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygorcs View Post
    Well, I don't know if they were very inteligente just because they had a larger cranial capacity (that's not the only or even main thing that matters to determine intelligence, the way the brain is "wired" may matter even more), but I think we can say they were not that smart and ingenuous if they never managed to use their natural environment's carrying capacity to a fuller degree at least to maintain a population higher than 800-3,330, which is insanely low even for the standards of the Upper Paleolithic. Also, I do not think there is a proof that even in pre-modern, completely rural conditions more intelligent people tend to reproduce less (of course not including exceptionally gifted outliers). We shouldn't project our extremely recent demographic experience in industrial modern societies onto the distant past, when social life and incentives to reproduction (or lack thereof) worked in a completely different way.

    But if they weren't intelligent then how would you explain the detail in their art which is lost in the following populations? Also as far as the "wiring" is concerned- generally brains with a lower neuron density in the outer regions (due to high CC) tend to be more efficient in thought processes, so cranial capacity helps in two ways in that sense. Also, seeing as how far they were spread out with such a low population, I think that it was likely because of their reclusive nature, probably another trait that can be associated with their intelligence?

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    Quote Originally Posted by aleph View Post
    But if they weren't intelligent then how would you explain the detail in their art which is lost in the following populations? Also as far as the "wiring" is concerned- generally brains with a lower neuron density in the outer regions (due to high CC) tend to be more efficient in thought processes, so cranial capacity helps in two ways in that sense. Also, seeing as how far they were spread out with such a low population, I think that it was likely because of their reclusive nature, probably another trait that can be associated with their intelligence?
    Do Greenlanders have a reclusive nature too?

    You are underestimating the difficulty of surviving in those conditions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gidai View Post
    Angela,
    I'm not an archaeologist. But I think that the first people who have entered Europe have gradually expanded their territory to the rest of Europe first settling in these space. It is logical.
    the oldest Aurignacian site is Willendorf, Austria dated 43.5 ka and the next sites are in the Schwäbische Alp, southern Germany, 42-43 ka
    all other Aurignacian sites are 40 ka or younger

    Aurignacians are not the first modern humans in Europe, but they are the first to spread over large parts of Europe, replacing older populations

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Sorry, Aleph. Here it is:
    https://www.gnxp.com/WordPress/2019/...r-many-humans/
    "If you read The genetic history of Ice Age Europe[COLOR=#000000][FONT=inherit] you know the very first modern humans to arrive in Europe didn’t leave a genetic footprint in future populations. And the impact of both the later Gravettian and the Magdalenian seems to have been marginal. The primary “hunter-gatherer” contribution to modern Europeans is through a group which expanded after ~15,000 BC.
    Laziridis 2018 suggests something else :

    a new Gravettian population arrived
    the Vestonice were an admixture of Gravettian + Sungir/Kostenki
    the Magdalenian were an admixture of Gravettian + Aurignacian
    bot of these populations got practically extinct
    but the Villabruna were unadmixed, original Gravettian
    Villabruna replaced Magdalenian ca 15 ka

    a recent paper (I forgat which) says La Brana though still had some traces of Magdalenian (El Miron cluster)

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    Laziridis 2018 suggests something else :



    a new Gravettian population arrived
    the Vestonice were an admixture of Gravettian + Sungir/Kostenki
    the Magdalenian were an admixture of Gravettian + Aurignacian
    bot of these populations got practically extinct
    but the Villabruna were unadmixed, original Gravettian
    I think Vestonice16 is the outlier. Most Vestonice individuals are like Sungir.

    The Mal'ta boy too is a typical Gravettian in the cultural sense. He just has ENA admixture which makes him an outlier with regard to the Vestonice cluster.

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    the advantage Gravettians had over Aurignacians was that they were mobile
    they probably had better tents and clothing
    they had more needles and they also had nets and cords to make traps for hunting small game
    they had better yarns and textiles
    they were so efficient, mammouths with European DNA got extinct
    but new mammouths arrived, with DNA from Siberia and even Alaska

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    [SIZE=3][FONT=arial]They had such a hard time surviving that they practiced infanticide to better their odds.
    I doubt this was common practice.
    The Sungir burials show disabled persons living a long time.
    They must have been supported and cared for by other members of the tribe.

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