Niche construction through cooperation: A nonlinear dynamics contribution to modeling facets of the evolutionary history in the genus homo

Agustín Fuentes, Matthew A. Wyczalkowski, Katherine C. MacKinnon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

The transition from early members of the genus Homo to Homo erectus/ergaster is marked by subtle morphological shifts but resulted in substantial changes in evolutionary trajectory. Predation pressures on the hominins may have been significant in influencing this transition. These contexts might have stimulated a shift in behavior and modes of engagement with the environment that initiated a complex suite of changes facilitating the emergence of current features of humanity. In this report we outline a potential model for these shifts based on nonlinear dynamical interactions involving niche construction and increased reliance on complex cooperation as an antipredator strategy. Modeling proposed selective predation pressures on early humans, leading to the idea that increasingly complex sociality, patterns of cooperation, and niche construction laid the foundation for the successful emergence and spread of the genus Homo and potentially a concomitant decline for the genus Paranthropus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-444
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Anthropology
Volume51
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2010

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