Testing Theoretical Approaches for Inferring Hominin Behavior at Liang Bua (Flores, Indonesia)


This is an abstract from the "The Extended Evolutionary Synthesis and Human Origins: Archaeological Perspectives" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Recent debates in anthropology surround the utility of human behavioral ecological (HBE) approaches for inferring archaeological phenomena. Criticisms of popular HBE approaches, including optimal foraging theory (OFT), challenge the assumption that humans will always maximize their behavior. Thus, these models may fail to account for ‘maladaptive’ and/or non-optimal aspects of human behavior. Alternative approaches include niche construction theory (NCT), in which organisms are not passive participants in their ecological circumstances, but actively modify and engage with their environments. For humans, this advanced capacity for engineering the ecosystem explains many critical events throughout our evolutionary history, including the Broad-Spectrum Revolution, agricultural origins, and climate change. The zooarchaeological record at Liang Bua (Flores, Indonesia) offers a rare opportunity to explore the utility of both OFT and NCT as theoretical tools for interpreting the behaviors of Homo floresiensis, modern human hunter-gatherers, and agricultural modern humans at the same site. OFT was used to generate test predictions about patterns of small prey acquisition, and we test these using taphonomic data. The results suggest that NCT and OFT are complementary approaches to understanding hominin behavior, and that each theoretical method can be used to examine change during different time scales at Liang Bua.

Cite this Record

Testing Theoretical Approaches for Inferring Hominin Behavior at Liang Bua (Flores, Indonesia). Elizabeth Veatch, Thomas Sutikna, E. Wahyu Saptomo, Jatmiko, Matthew M. Tocheri. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450875)

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24770