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Late Pleistocene climate change and Paleolithic cultural evolution in northern China: Implications from the Last Glacial Maximum

Barton, L and Brantingham, PJ and Ji, D (2007) Late Pleistocene climate change and Paleolithic cultural evolution in northern China: Implications from the Last Glacial Maximum. In: UNSPECIFIED UNSPECIFIED, 105 - 128. ISBN UNSPECIFIED

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Temporal and spatial patterns in archeological data from Pleistocene north China suggest strong correlations between climate change and culture change, but only in extreme cases. In these cases, climate has an immediate impact on human mobility, which is severely constrained during the pronounced cold/dry intervals of the Pleistocene. As high mobility becomes incompatible with the environmental limitations of extreme intervals, such as the Last Glacial Maximum, previously disparate mobile human groups aggregate and compete for limited and spatially segregated resources. During such times, regional cultural variation evolves in isolation and natural selection acts on group-level adaptations, facilitating the evolution of cohesive and cooperative social networks. The process of group selection further allows for the rapid diffusion of cultural and technological innovation and may explain the rapid diffusion of microblade technology throughout northeast Asia during the post-glacial period. While climate change does present challenges to human survival and may promote alternative adaptive strategies, rapid cultural evolution is driven primarily by group formation, between-group competition, and the mechanics of cultural transmission. The degree to which climate change mediates these interactions is the extent to which climate should be implicated in cultural evolution. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


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Item Type: Book Section
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Barton, Lloukas@pitt.eduLOUKAS0000-0003-1519-4226
Brantingham, PJ
Ji, D
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > Center for Comparative Archaeology
Date: 1 December 2007
Date Type: Publication
Volume: 9
Page Range: 105 - 128
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1016/s1571-0866(07)09009-4
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Anthropology
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2014 17:01
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2019 15:58


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