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Evidence of different climatic adaptation strategies in humans and non-human primates

Buck, LT; De Groote, I; Hamada, Y; Hassett, BR; Ito, T; Stock, JT; (2019) Evidence of different climatic adaptation strategies in humans and non-human primates. Scientific Reports , 9 , Article 11025. 10.1038/s41598-019-47202-8. Green open access

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Abstract

To understand human evolution it is critical to clarify which adaptations enabled our colonisation of novel ecological niches. For any species climate is a fundamental source of environmental stress during range expansion. Mammalian climatic adaptations include changes in size and shape reflected in skeletal dimensions and humans fit general primate ecogeographic patterns. It remains unclear however, whether there are also comparable amounts of adaptation in humans, which has implications for understanding the relative importance of biological/behavioural mechanisms in human evolution. We compare cranial variation between prehistoric human populations from throughout Japan and ecologically comparable groups of macaques. We compare amounts of intraspecific variation and covariation between cranial shape and ecological variables. Given equal rates and sufficient time for adaptation for both groups, human conservation of non-human primate adaptation should result in comparable variation and patterns of covariation in both species. In fact, we find similar amounts of intraspecific variation in both species, but no covariation between shape and climate in humans, contrasting with strong covariation in macaques. The lack of covariation in humans may suggest a disconnect in climatic adaptation strategies from other primates. We suggest this is due to the importance of human behavioural adaptations, which act as a buffer from climatic stress and were likely key to our evolutionary success.

Type: Article
Title: Evidence of different climatic adaptation strategies in humans and non-human primates
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-47202-8
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-47202-8
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10079108
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