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Population in the Human SciencesConcepts, Models, Evidence$
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Philip Kreager, Bruce Winney, Stanley Ulijaszek, and Cristian Capelli

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199688203

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199688203.001.0001

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Genetics and the Reconstruction of African Population History

Genetics and the Reconstruction of African Population History

(p.379) Chapter 13 Genetics and the Reconstruction of African Population History
Population in the Human Sciences

Francesc Calafell

David Comas

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the possibility of subspecific divergence in Plio-Pleistocene hominins. The fossil record is patchy and hence it is notoriously difficult to assess adequately whether structured variation, required to assign subspecies, is present. Referential models are therefore used to investigate the likelihood of tropical hominin subspecies in the context of knowledge about modern African catarrhines, emphasizing the relationship between subspecies occurrence and species range. Hominin species ranges are reconstructed on the basis of known fossil localities and with GIS tools designed to model distributions of living organisms. Paleontological and paleobiological evidence is then used within these models to make predictions about subspecies occurrence. This indicates that two Plio-Pleistocene hominins, Australopithecus afarensis and Paranthropus boisei, may have included subspecies. Finally, the chapter discusses how the behaviours of individuals and groups could provide the raw material for subspecific differentiation in hominins, using Wright's adaptive landscape as a framework.

Keywords:   hominin evolution, geographic range, subspecies, Plio-Pleistocene, Paranthropus, Australopithecus, catarrhine, Africa, population modelling

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