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Friday, April 1 • 10:55 - 11:20
S14-06 The versatilist’s story of human dispersal: Climate fluctuation, adaptation and the evolution of human uniqueness

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The Versatilist’s Story of Human Dispersal: Climate Fluctuation, Adaptation and the Evolution of Human Uniqueness

Iza Romanowska

The Variability Selection Hypothesis proposed by Potts (1996; 1998) postulates the evolution of behavioural plasticity among early hominins arising during periods of strong environmental fluctuations in the last 6 million years. It argues that the inconsistency in selection regimes caused by the rapid environmental fluctuations produced particularly strong selection pressure on adapting to change rather than any particular set of environmental conditions. This promoted adaptive changes leading to a higher level of behavioural plasticity and the evolution of organisms which can be described as ’versatilists’, for example early hominins. 

Here, we present an extension of the single locus model by Grove (2011) - the first successful formalisation of the Variability Selection Hypothesis into a mathematical framework. The current implementation aims to assess the implications of the Variability Selection Hypothesis on the agents ability to disperse, a process that is visible in the archaeological record. The model was translated into a stochastic multi-agent simulation to investigate the dynamics between individuals with different positions and range on the adaptative spectrum (including the ’versatilist’ individuals) within a non-homogenous population. The particular focus of this presentation is on the spatial structuring of the migration wave and the question of what characteristics of the original population play a role in its ability to disperse.

Friday April 1, 2016 10:55 - 11:20 CEST
Domus Bibliotheca

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