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Cultural learning and the Clovis colonization of North America

Published on Nov 1, 2017in Evolutionary Anthropology
· DOI :10.1002/evan.21550
Michael J. O’Brien1
Estimated H-index: 1
(A&M: Texas A&M University),
Briggs Buchanan22
Estimated H-index: 22
(TU: University of Tulsa)
Abstract
: The timing of the earliest colonization of North America is debatable, but what is not at issue is the point of origin of the early colonists: Humans entered the continent from Beringia and then made their way south along or near the Pacific Coast and/or through a corridor that ran between the Cordilleran and Laurentide ice sheets in western North America. At some point, they abandoned their Arctic-based tool complex for one more adapted to an entirely different environment. That new techno-complex is termed "Clovis"; its dispersal allows us to examine, at a fine scale, how colonization processes played out across a vast continent that at the time had, at best, a very small resident population. Clovis has figured prominently in American archeology since the first Clovis points were identified in eastern New Mexico in the 1930s. However, the successful marriage of learning models grounded in evolutionary theory and modern analytical methods that began roughly a decade ago has begun to pay significant dividends in terms of what we know about the rapid spread of human groups across the last sizable landmass to witness human occupation.
  • References (83)
  • Citations (3)
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References83
Newest
#1Sabrina B. Sholts (National Museum of Natural History)H-Index: 11
#2Joseph A. M. Gingerich (OU: Ohio University)H-Index: 5
Last. Sebastian K.T.S. Wärmländer (UCLA: University of California, Los Angeles)H-Index: 21
view all 5 authors...
Stone tools, often the sole remnant of prehistoric hunter-gatherer behavior, are frequently used as evidence of ancient human mobility, resource use, and environmental adaptation. In North America, studies of morphological variation in projectile points have provided important insights into migration and interactions of human groups as early as 12–13 kya. Using new approaches to 3D imaging and morphometric analysis, we here quantify bifacial asymmetry among early North American projectile point ...
5 CitationsSource
#1Ben A. Potter (UAF: University of Alaska Fairbanks)H-Index: 11
#2Joshua D. Reuther (UAF: University of Alaska Fairbanks)H-Index: 8
Last. Nicholas Schmuck (UAF: University of Alaska Fairbanks)H-Index: 1
view all 6 authors...
Abstract Recent archaeological and paleoecological work along both interior and coastal routes for early colonization of the New World has suggested that the interior route was impossible, leaving the coastal route as the only colonization route taken by Clovis ancestors. We review the geological, paleoecological, and archaeological record for Eastern Beringia and adjacent areas. Spatio-temporal patterning of known sites and evaluation of early interior and coastal route radiocarbon, luminescenc...
28 CitationsSource
#1Kaitlyn A. Thomas (SMU: Southern Methodist University)H-Index: 1
#2Brett A. Story (SMU: Southern Methodist University)H-Index: 7
Last. David J. Meltzer (SMU: Southern Methodist University)H-Index: 37
view all 7 authors...
Clovis groups, the first widely successful colonizers of North America, had a distinctive technology, whereby manufacturers removed flakes to thin the bases of their stone projectile points, creating “flutes.” That process is challenging to learn and costly to implement, yet was used continent-wide. It has long been debated whether fluting conferred any adaptive benefit. We compared standardized models of fluted and unfluted points: analytically, by way of static, linear finite element modeling ...
13 CitationsSource
#1Briggs BuchananH-Index: 22
#2Anne ChaoH-Index: 43
Last. Metin I. ErenH-Index: 24
view all 7 authors...
Environment-induced changes in selective constraints on social learning during the peopling of the Americas
9 CitationsSource
#2Darrin L. Lowery (Chesapeake Energy)H-Index: 1
Last. Christopher J. Ellis (UWO: University of Western Ontario)H-Index: 21
view all 4 authors...
This paper summarizes current evidence for earliest human occupation of northeastern North America during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene. We review evolution of the region's landscapes and evidence of archaeological chronologies as context for understanding human settlement of the region. Current data support limited evidence for pre-Clovis occupation south of the Laurentide glacial margin, followed by a significant temporal gap prior to early Paleoindian settlement of the region. Despi...
29 CitationsSource
#1Michael J. O'Brien (MU: University of Missouri)H-Index: 69
#2Matthew T. Boulanger (MU: University of Missouri)H-Index: 10
Last. Metin I. Eren (MU: University of Missouri)H-Index: 24
view all 8 authors...
Tool design is a cultural trait—a term long used in anthropology as a unit of transmittable information that encodes particular behavioral characteristics of individuals or groups. After they are transmitted, cultural traits serve as units of replication in that they can be modified as part of a cultural repertoire through processes such as recombination, loss, or partial alteration. Artifacts and other components of the archaeological record serve as proxies for studying the transmission (and m...
17 CitationsSource
#1Thomas A. Jennings (University of West Georgia)H-Index: 11
Multiple hypotheses have been proposed to explain the relationship between fully fluted Folsom points and unfluted Midland points. One hypothesis, proposed by Hofman (1992, “Recognition and interpretation of Folsom technological variability on the southern plains.” In Ice Age Hunters of the Rockies, edited by D. J. Stanford, and J. S. Day, 193–229. Boulder: University Press of Colorado), is that mobile Folsom bands shifted from making Folsom points, which often fatally broke during the productio...
6 CitationsSource
#1Briggs Buchanan (TU: University of Tulsa)H-Index: 22
#2Marcus J. Hamilton (ASU: Arizona State University)H-Index: 24
Last. Joseph A. M. Gingerich (Smithsonian Institution)H-Index: 5
view all 4 authors...
North America was colonized by hunter–gatherer populations during the late Pleistocene, and the Clovis culture is the earliest well-documented evidence of this event. Long-standing questions about the colonization process persist, including the extent to which low-density populations maintained contact across the continent and if foraging territories overlapped or were spatially-discrete. Here, we use a network approach to examine the spatial structure of land use associated with the earliest hu...
15 CitationsSource
#1Metin I. ErenH-Index: 24
#2Anne ChaoH-Index: 43
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view all 8 authors...
15 CitationsSource
#1Tom D. Dillehay (Austral University of Chile)H-Index: 28
#2Carlos OcampoH-Index: 2
Last. George R. Dix (Carleton University)H-Index: 15
view all 14 authors...
Questions surrounding the chronology, place, and character of the initial human colonization of the Americas are a long-standing focus of debate. Interdisciplinary debate continues over the timing of entry, the rapidity and direction of dispersion, the variety of human responses to diverse habitats, the criteria for evaluating the validity of early sites, and the differences and similarities between colonization in North and South America. Despite recent advances in our understanding of these is...
79 CitationsSource
Cited By3
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#1Briggs BuchananH-Index: 22
#2Mark CollardH-Index: 33
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Recent work has demonstrated that Goshen points overlap in time with another group of unfluted lanceolate points from the Plains, Plainview points. This has raised the question of whether the two types should be kept separate or consolidated into a single type. We sought to resolve this issue by applying geometric morphometric methods to a sample of points from well-documented Goshen and Plainview assemblages. We found that their shapes were statistically indistinguishable, which indicates that ...
Source
#1Michael J. O'BrienH-Index: 1
ABSTRACTThe Clovis techno-complex has figured prominently in American archaeology since the 1930s, when fluted stone weapon tips and other tools were found alongside the remains of late Pleistocene...
2 CitationsSource
#1Florian Sauer (AU: Aarhus University)H-Index: 1
#2Felix Riede (AU: Aarhus University)H-Index: 15
In the analysis of archaeological relationships and processes, a uniform classification of the dataset is a fundamental requirement. To achieve this, a standardised taxonomic system, as well as consistent and valid criteria for the grouping of sites and assemblages, must be used. The Central European Late Palaeolithic (ca. 12,000–9700 cal BC) has a long research history and many regionally and temporally specific units—groups and cultures—are recognised. In this paper, we examine the complex tax...
4 CitationsSource
The timing of human entrance into North America has been a topic of debate that dates back to the late 19th century. Central to the modern discussion is not whether late Pleistocene-age populations were present on the continent, but the timing of their arrival. Key to the debate is the age of tools—bone rods, large prismatic stone blades, and bifacially chipped and fluted stone weapon tips—often found associated with the remains of late Pleistocene fauna. For decades, it was assumed that this te...
1 CitationsSource