Behavioral Ecology and the Transition to Agriculture / Edition 1

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This innovative volume is the first collective effort by archaeologists and ethnographers to use concepts and models from human behavioral ecology to explore one of the most consequential transitions in human history: the origins of agriculture. Carefully balancing theory and detailed empirical study, and drawing from a series of ethnographic and archaeological case studies from eleven locations—including North and South America, Mesoamerica, Europe, the Near East, Africa, and the Pacific—the contributors to this volume examine the transition from hunting and gathering to farming and herding using a broad set of analytical models and concepts. These include diet breadth, central place foraging, ideal free distribution, discounting, risk sensitivity, population ecology, and costly signaling. An introductory chapter both charts the basics of the theory and notes areas of rapid advance in our understanding of how human subsistence systems evolve. Two concluding chapters by senior archaeologists reflect on the potential for human behavioral ecology to explain domestication and the transition from foraging to farming.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520246478
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 1/2/2006
  • Series: Origins of Human Behavior and Culture Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 407
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Douglas J. Kennett, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Oregon, is author of The Island Chumash (California, 2005). Bruce Winterhalder, Professor of Anthropology and the Graduate Group in Ecology at the University of California, Davis, is coeditor of Evolutionary Ecology and Human Behavior (1992) and Hunter-Gatherer Foraging Strategies (1981).

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Table of Contents

1 Behavioral ecology and the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture 1
2 A future discounting explanation for the persistence of a mixed foraging-horticulture strategy among the Mikea of Madagascar 22
3 Central place foraging and food production on the Cumberland plateau, eastern Kentucky 41
4 Aspects of optimization and risk during the early agricultural period in southeastern Arizona 63
5 A formal model for predicting agriculture among the Fremont 87
6 An ecological model for the origins of maize-based food production on the Pacific coast of southern Mexico 103
7 The origins of plant cultivation and domestication in the neotropics : a behavioral ecological perspective 137
8 Costly signaling, the sexual division of labor, and animal domestication in the Andean highlands 167
9 Human behavioral ecology, domestic animals, and land use during the transition to agriculture in Valencia, eastern Spain 197
10 Breaking the rain barrier and the tropical spread of Near Eastern agriculture into southern Arabia 217
11 The emergence of agriculture in New Guinea : a model of continuity from pre-existing foraging practices 237
12 The ideal free distribution, food production and the colonization of Oceania 265
13 Human behavioral ecology and the transition to food production 289
14 Agriculture, archaeology, and human behavioral ecology 304
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