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Validating niche-construction theory through path analysis

Author(s): R. Alexander Bentley ; Michael O'Brien ; William Brock

Year: 2015

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Summary

Under the conventional view of evolution, species over time come to exhibit those characteristics that best enable them to survive and reproduce in their preexisting environments. Niche construction provides a second evolutionary route to establishing the adaptive fit, or match, between organism and environment, viewing such matches as dynamical products of a two-way process involving organisms both responding to problems posed by environments as well as setting themselves new problems by changing their environments through further niche construction. Path analysis forces researchers to specify how variables relate to one another and encourages development of clear and logical theories concerning the processes that influence a particular outcome. As we show through a case study—the coevolution of cattle husbandry and the tolerance for milk consumption—path analysis can also call attention to potential areas of weakness and ambiguity in data sets and how they are used in constructing archaeological and evolutionary inferences.

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Validating niche-construction theory through path analysis. R. Alexander Bentley, William Brock, Michael O'Brien. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395370)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
Europe


Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America