Discovering the opposite shore: how did hominins cross sea straits?

  • Understanding hominin expansions requires the comprehension of movement processes at different scales. In many models of hominin expansion these processes are viewed as being determined by large-scale effects, such as changes in climate and vegetation spanning continents and thousands or even millions of years. However, these large-scale patterns of expansions also need to be considered as possibly resulting from the accumulation of small-scale decisions of individual hominins. Moving on a continental scale may for instance involve crossing a water barrier. We present a generalized agent-based model for simulating the crossing of a water barrier where the agents represent the hominin individuals. The model can be configured to represent a variety of movement modes across water. Here, we compare four different behavioral scenarios in conjunction with a set of water barrier configurations, in which agents move in water by either paddling, drifting, swimming or rafting. We introduce the crossing-success-rate (CSR) to quantify the performance in water crossing. Our study suggests that more focus should be directed towards the exploration of behavioral models for hominins, as directionality may be a more powerful factor for crossing a barrier than environmental opportunities alone. A prerequisite for this is to perceive the opposite shore. Furthermore, to provide a comprehensive understanding of hominin expansions, the CSR allows for the integration of results obtained from small-scale simulations into large-scale models for hominin expansion.
Author:Ericson HölzchenORCiDGND, Christine HertlerORCiDGND, Ana Mateos, Jesús Rodríguez, Jan Ole Berndt, Ingo J. TimmORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):PLOS ONE
Place of publication:San Francisco, California, US
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2021/06/30
Date of first Publication:2021/06/30
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2022/03/07
Tag:Agent-based modeling; Dehydration (medicine); Hominins; Hypothermia; Population density; Sea water; Shores; Swimming
Issue:10, art. e0259484
Page Number:29
First Page:1
Last Page:29
This study was supported by the Research Center “The Role of Culture in Early Expansions of Humans” (ROCEEH). A. Mateos, J. Rodríguez, E. Hölzchen and J.O. Berndt were supported by TROPHIc (PID2019-105101GB-I00). The article processing charges were covered by the Open Access Publication Fund of the Goethe University Frankfurt.
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Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
9 Geschichte und Geografie / 93 Geschichte des Altertums (bis ca. 499), Archäologie / 930 Geschichte des Altertums bis ca. 499, Archäologie
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0