Reduced intensity of bone fat exploitation correlates with increased potential access to dairy fats in early Neolithic Europe
Emily V. Johnson et al.
Journal of archeological science, 2018
We investigated faunal material from eleven early Neolithic sites in central Europe for bone fracture and fragmentation patterns to ascertain the intensity of bone marrow and grease exploitation. These data indicate that bone grease processing was practised rarely if at all during the early Neolithic, likely made unnecessary by ample access to crop carbohydrates. Bone marrow was exploited at all sites, but with varying intensity that exhibited a significant negative correlation with the proportion of milk-producing domestic ruminants. This observation is consistent with the hypothesis that fats obtained from dairy products reduced requirements for intensive marrow exploitation.
Cultural hitchhiking and competition between patrilineal kin groups explain the post-NeolithicY-chromosome bottleneck
Tian Chen Zeng et al.
Nature communications, 2018.
In human populations, changes in genetic variation are driven not only by genetic processes,but can also arise from cultural or social changes. An abrupt population bottleneck specifictohuman males has been inferred across several Old World (Africa, Europe, Asia) populations5000–7000 BP. Here, bringing together anthropological theory, recent population genomicstudies and mathematical models, we propose a sociocultural hypothesis, involving the for-mation of patrilineal kin groups and intergroup competition among these groups. Our analysisshows that this sociocultural hypothesis can explain the inference of a population bottleneck.We also show that our hypothesis is consistent with currentfindings from the archae-ogenetics of Old World Eurasia, and is important for conceptions of cultural and socialevolution in prehistory.
Early Life Conditions and Physiological Stress following the Transition to Farming inCentral/Southeast Europe: Skeletal Growth Impairment and 6000 Years of Gradual Recovery
Alinson A. Macintosh et al.
PLOS one, 2016
Results documentsignificantly reduced mean stature, body mass, and crural index in Neolithic agriculturalistsrelative both to Late Mesolithic hunter-gatherer-fishers and to later farming populations.This indication of relative growth impairment in the Neolithic, particularly among women, issupported by existing evidence of high developmental stress, intensive physical activity,and variable access to animal protein in these early agricultural populations. Among subse-quent agriculturalists, temporal increases in mean stature, body mass, and crural indexwere more pronounced among Central European women, driving declines in the magnitudeof sexual dimorphism through time. Overall, results suggest that the transition to agriculturein Central/Southeast Europe was challenging for early farming populations, but was fol-lowed by gradual amelioration across thousands of years, particularly among Central Euro-pean women. This sex difference may be indicative, in part, of greater temporal variation inthe social status afforded to young girls, in their access to resources during growth, and/orin their health status than was experienced by men.
Reproductive trade-offs in extant hunter-gatherers suggest adaptive mechanism for the Neolithic expansion
Abigail E. Page et al.
The Neolithic demographic transition remains a paradox, becauseit is associated with both higher rates of population growth andincreased morbidity and mortality rates. Here we reconcile theconflicting evidence by proposing that the spread of agricultureinvolved a life history quality–quantity trade-off whereby motherstraded offspring survival for increased fertility, achieving greaterreproductive success despite deteriorating health
A recent bottleneck of Y chromosome diversity coincides with a global change in culture
Karmin et al.
Genome research, 2015
It is commonly thought that human genetic diversity in non-African populations was shaped primarily by an out-of-Africa dispersal 50-100 thousand yr ago (kya). Here, we present a study of 456 geographically diverse high-coverage Y chromosome sequences, including 299 newly reported samples. Applying ancient DNA calibration, we date the Y-chromosomal most recent common ancestor (MRCA) in Africa at 254 (95% CI 192-307) kya and detect a cluster of major non-African founder haplogroups in a narrow time interval at 47-52 kya, consistent with a rapid initial colonization model of Eurasia and Oceania after the out-of-Africa bottleneck. In contrast to demographic reconstructions based on mtDNA, we infer a second strong bottleneck in Y-chromosome lineages dating to the last 10 ky. We hypothesize that this bottleneck is caused by cultural changes affecting variance of reproductive success among males.
Gradual decline in mobility with the adoption of food production in Europe
Ruff et al.
Together these results strongly implicate declining mobility asthe specific behavioral factor underlying these changes. Mobility levels first declined at the onset of food production, but the transition to a more sedentary lifestyle was gradual, extending through later agricultural intensification. This finding only partially supports models that tie increased sedentism to a relatively abrupt Neolithic Demographic Transition in Europe. The lack of subsequent change in relative bone strength indicates that in-creasing mechanization and urbanization had only relatively small effects on skeletal robusticity, suggesting that moderate changes in activity level are not sufficient stimuli for bone deposition or resorption.
Incongruity between Affinity Patterns Based on Mandibular and Lower Dental Dimensions following the Transition to Agriculture in the Near East, Anatolia and Europe
Pinhasi et al.
Plos One, 2015
Although later farming groups have, on average, smaller teeth and mandibles, shape analyses show that the mandibles of farmers are not simply size-reduced versions of earlier hunter-gatherer mandibles. Instead, it appears that mandibular form underwent a complex series of shape changes commensurate with the transition to agriculture that are not reflected in affinity patterns based on dental dimensions. In the case of hunter-gatherers there is a correlation between inter-individual mandibular and dental distances, suggesting an equilibrium between these two closely associated morphological units. However, in the case of semi-sedentary hunter-gatherers and farming groups, no such correlation was found, suggesting that the incongruity between dental and mandibular form began with the shift towards sedentism and agricultural subsistence practices in the core region of the Near East and Anatolia.
Recent origin of low trabecular bone density in modern humans
Chirchir et al.
Results show that only recent modern humans have low trabecular density throughout the limb joints. Extinct hominins, including pre-Holocene Homo sapiens, retain the high levels seen in nonhuman primates. Thus, the low trabecular density of the recent modern human skeleton evolved late in our evolutionary history, potentially resulting from increased sedentism and reliance on technological and cultural innovations.
Gracility of the modern Homo sapiens skeleton is the result of decreased biomechanical loading
Timothy M. Ryana & Colin N. Shaw
Analyses of mass-corrected trabecular bone variables reveal that the forager populations had significantly higher bone volume fraction, thicker trabeculae, and consequently lower relative bone surface area compared with the two agriculturalist groups. There were no significant differences between the
agriculturalist and forager populations for trabecular spacing, number,
or degree of anisotropy. These results reveal a correspondence between human behavior and bone structure in the proximal femur, indicating that more highly mobile human populations have trabecular bone structure similar to what would be expected for wild nonhuman primates of the same body mass. These results
strongly emphasize the importance of physical activity and exercise
for bone health and the attenuation of age-related bone loss.
Transition to agriculture in central europe: Body size and Body shape amongst the First Farmers
Janusz Piontek, Vàclav Vancata
Interdisciplinaria archeologica, 2012
Stature and robusticity during the agricultural transition: Evidence from the bioarchaeological record
Amanda Mummert et al.
Economics & human biology, 2011
[…]empirical studies of societies shifting subsistence from foraging to primary food production have found evidence for deteriorating health from an increase in infectious and dental disease and a rise in nutritional deficiencies. In Paleopathology at the Origins of Agriculture (Cohen and Armelagos, 1984), this trend towards declining health was observed for 19 of 21 societies undergoing the agricultural transformation. The counterintuitive increase in nutritional diseases resulted from seasonal hunger, reliance on single crops deficient in essential nutrients, crop blights, social inequalities, and trade.
Stature of early europeans
Pre-glacial maximum Upper Palaeolithic males (before 16,000 BC) were tall and slim (mean height 179cm, estimated average body weight 67 kg), while the females were comparably small and robust(mean height 158 cm, estimated average body weight 54 kg). Late Upper Palaeolithic males (8000-6600 BC) were of medium stature and robusticity (mean height 166 cm, estimated average bodyweight 62 kg). Stature further decreased to below 165 cm with estimated average body weight of 64kg in Neolithic males of the Linear Band Pottery Culture, and to 150 cm with estimated averagebody weight of 49 kg in Neolithic females. The body stature of European males remained within therange of 165 to 170 cm up to the end of the 19th century.
Biological Changes in Human Populations with Agriculture
Clark Spencer Larsen
Annual review of anthropology, 1995
Contrary to earlier models, the adoption of agriculture involved an overall decline in oral and general health. This decline is indicated by elevated prevalence of various skeletal and dental pathological conditions and alterations in skeletal and dental growth patterns in prehistoric farmers compared with foragers. In addition, changes in food composition and preparation technology contributed to craniofacial and dental alterations, and activity levels and mobility decline resulted in a general decrease in skeletal robusticity. These findings indicate that the shift from food collection to food production occasioned significant and widespread biological changes in human populations during the last 10,000 years.