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Demographic uniformitarianism: the theoretical basis of prehistoric demographic research and its cross-disciplinary challenges

French, J; Chamberlain, A; (2021) Demographic uniformitarianism: the theoretical basis of prehistoric demographic research and its cross-disciplinary challenges. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences , 376 (1816) , Article 20190720. 10.1098/rstb.2019.0720. Green open access

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Abstract

A principle of demographic uniformitarianism underpins all research into prehistoric demography (palaeodemography). This principle—which argues for continuity in the evolved mechanisms underlying modern human demographic processes and their response to environmental stimuli between past and present—provides the cross-disciplinary basis for palaeodemographic reconstruction and analysis. Prompted by the recent growth and interest in the field of prehistoric demography, this paper reviews the principle of demographic uniformitarianism, evaluates how it relates to two key debates in palaeodemographic research and seeks to delimit its range of applicability to past human and hominin populations. This article is part of the theme issue ‘Cross-disciplinary approaches to prehistoric demography’.

Type: Article
Title: Demographic uniformitarianism: the theoretical basis of prehistoric demographic research and its cross-disciplinary challenges
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2019.0720
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2019.0720
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
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
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10093546
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