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Space Competition and Time Delays in Human Range Expansions. Application to the Neolithic Transition

Isern, N; Fort, J; Vander Linden, M; (2012) Space Competition and Time Delays in Human Range Expansions. Application to the Neolithic Transition. PLOS ONE , 7 (12) , Article e51106. 10.1371/journal.pone.0051106. Green open access

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Abstract

Space competition effects are well-known in many microbiological and ecological systems. Here we analyze such an effect in human populations. The Neolithic transition (change from foraging to farming) was mainly the outcome of a demographic process that spread gradually throughout Europe from the Near East. In Northern Europe, archaeological data show a slowdown on the Neolithic rate of spread that can be related to a high indigenous (Mesolithic) population density hindering the advance as a result of the space competition between the two populations. We measure this slowdown from a database of 902 Early Neolithic sites and develop a time-delayed reaction-diffusion model with space competition between Neolithic and Mesolithic populations, to predict the observed speeds. The comparison of the predicted speed with the observations and with a previous non-delayed model show that both effects, the time delay effect due to the generation lag and the space competition between populations, are crucial in order to understand the observations.

Type: Article
Title: Space Competition and Time Delays in Human Range Expansions. Application to the Neolithic Transition
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051106
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0051106
Language: English
Additional information: © 2012 Isern et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. This work was funded by the Ministry of Science (grants SimulPast-Consolider-CSD-2010-00034 and FIS-2009-13050) and the Generalitat de Catalunya (Grup Consolidat 2009-SGR-374). The Neolithic database was assembled as part of the project Formation of Europe prehistoric population dynamics and the roots of socio-cultural diversity, funded by the European Commission (NEST-028192). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1381163
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