The demographic response to Holocene climate change in the Sahara

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Date: Oct. 1, 2014
From: Quaternary Science Reviews(Vol. 101)
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Document Type: Article
Length: 223 words

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Abstract :

To link to full-text access for this article, visit this link: Byline: Katie Manning, Adrian Timpson Abstract: The timing and development of Holocene human occupation in the now hyperarid Sahara has major implications for understanding links between climate change, demography and cultural adaptation. Here we use summed probability distributions from 3287 calibrated.sup.14C dates from 1011 archaeological sites to demonstrate a major and rapid demographic shift between 10,500 and 5500 years BP. This event corresponds with the African Humid Period (AHP) and is sub-continental in scale, indicating climate as the prime factor driving broad-scale population dynamics in northern Africa. Furthermore, by providing a high temporal resolution proxy for effective carrying capacity our population curve offers an independent estimate of environmental change in northern Africa, indicating a temporal delay in the terrestrial response to atmospheric climate change. These results highlight the degree to which human demography is a function of environment at the appropriate scale of observation in both time and space and sheds important new light on the social response to global environmental change. Author Affiliation: (a) Institute of Archaeology, University College London, 31-34 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PY, UK (b) Research Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, Darwin Building, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, UK Article History: Received 20 February 2014; Revised 24 June 2014; Accepted 1 July 2014

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A382900257