APPLICATIONS OF EVOLUTIONARY ECOLOGY AND ISOTOPE GEOCHEMISTRY SHED LIGHT ON NORTH AMERICAN PREHISTORIC HUMAN BEHAVIOR AND REGIONAL PROCUREMENT SYSTEMS
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe study of archaeology within an ecological and evolutionary framework began with the study of changes in human subsistence through time. Within the last few decades archaeologists have expanded applications of evolutionary ecology (EE) beyond the dietary emphasis of the prey choice model toward increasingly complex and novel applications. The chapters in this dissertation provide several examples of this expansion, through novel examinations of the complex relationships between humans and their environment, as well as thoughtful examinations of social systems and non-subsistence related behavior through the prism of EE. Appendix A asks at what transport distance from a central place does big game become costly to procure relative to smaller local game? Results from this study show that big game is an economical choice at a one-way transport distance of over 100 km. These results are then used in Appendix B where isotope geochemistry is used to show both large and small game from Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon were transported over 70 km to the Canyon. Without the results from Appendix A, one would be inclined to describe the long-distance transport of large game as a costly signal, when in fact it is an economical choice, particularly in a depressed or low productivity habitat. Appendix C, demonstrates the applicability of costly signaling theory to non-dietary artifacts, by showing how geochemically sourced non-local goods contain a variety of social meaning.
Degree ProgramGraduate College