An ecomorphological model of the initial hominid dispersal from Africa

Susan Anton, W. R. Leonard, M. L. Robertson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    We use new data on the timing and extent of the early Pleistocene dispersal of Homo erectus to estimate diffusion coefficients of early Homo from Africa. These diffusion coefficients indicate more rapid and efficient dispersals than those calculated for fossil Macaca sp., Theropithecus darti, and Mesopithecus pentelicus. Increases in home range size associated with changes in ecology, hominid body size, and possibly foraging strategy may underlay these differences in dispersal efficiency. Ecological data for extant primates and human foragers indicate a close relationship between body size, home range size, and diet quality. These data predict that evolutionary changes in body size and foraging behavior would have produced a 10-fold increase in the home range size of H. erectus compared with that of the australopithecines. These two independent datasets provide a means of quantifying aspects of the dispersal of early Homo and suggest that rapid rates of dispersal appear to have been promoted by changes in foraging strategy and body size in H. erectus facilitated by changes in ecosystem structure during the Plio-Pleistocene.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)773-785
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Human Evolution
    Volume43
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2002

    Fingerprint

    hominid
    Hominidae
    Homo
    body size
    home range
    range size
    foraging
    diffusivity
    Pleistocene
    nutritional adequacy
    Macaca
    ecosystem structure
    ecology
    foraging behavior
    Primates
    fossils
    primate
    efficiency
    Africa
    Hominids

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
    • Education
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

    Cite this

    An ecomorphological model of the initial hominid dispersal from Africa. / Anton, Susan; Leonard, W. R.; Robertson, M. L.

    In: Journal of Human Evolution, Vol. 43, No. 6, 2002, p. 773-785.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Anton, Susan ; Leonard, W. R. ; Robertson, M. L. / An ecomorphological model of the initial hominid dispersal from Africa. In: Journal of Human Evolution. 2002 ; Vol. 43, No. 6. pp. 773-785.
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