Validating niche-construction theory through path analysis
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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This Resource is Part of the Following Collections
- Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015) •
- Evolutionary theory and archaeology, Part I: Cultural transmission, cultural evolution, and evolutionary archaeology
Cite this Record
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)
min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;