by Amy Wallace
Washington (UPI) May 3, 2017
Researchers at Stanford University have identified population growth and spread as a possible cause for early human advancements such as explosions of tool use.
Previous theories regarding why there was a significant increase in the use of new tools, art and other cultural artifacts from the Middle to the Upper Paleolithic period credited climate change, which forced prehistoric humans to innovate or die off.
The Paleolithic period was marked by periods of slow change and then bursts of cultural innovation.
The research was conducted in the lab of Marcus Feldman, a professor of biology at Stanford, along with Oren Kolodny and Nicole Creanza, both of whom are post-doctoral fellows at Stanford.
"Those cultural bursts have been taken as evidence of an external change," Creanza said in a press release. "But to some extent, Oren, Marc and I felt that the simplest explanation could be that culture itself is capable of behaving in a punctuated fashion."
The research combined a previous study showing the combination of three kinds of advancements -- lucky leaps theory, extensions of lucky leaps and the loss of ideas could -- have directly led to bursts of innovation, with two new components.
The two new components were migrations between distinct populations and that certain major innovations helped grow the population.
The updated model made predictions that qualitatively validate what archaeologists know about cultural evolution in the Paleolithic period.
Researchers theorized that when population sized are small and migration is rare, a pattern of cultural booms and busts will occur. Occasional travel may bring new ideas to set off a boom, but without more new ideas, innovation can be lost over time.
However, innovation that encourages population growth can have lasting effects.
"We don't think that whenever we get a qualitative pattern that looks like the archaeological record, this is what necessarily happened," Kolodny said. "But it is a proof of concept that it could have happened this way."
The study was published in Royal Society Interface.
Washington DC (SPX) May 03, 2017
An international collaboration of neuroscientists has shed light on how the brain helps us to predict what is coming next in speech. In the study, publishing in the open access journal PLOS Biology scientists from Newcastle University, UK, and a neurosurgery group at the University of Iowa, USA, report that they have discovered mechanisms in the brain's auditory cortex involved in processing spe ... read more
All About Human Beings and How We Got To Be Here
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|