Risk, mobility or population size?: Drivers of technological richness among contact-period western North American hunter–gatherers

Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B. Vol/Iss. 368(1630) The Royal Society Published In Pages: 1-9
By Collard, Mark, Buchanan, Briggs, O'Brien, Michael J., Scholnick, Jonathan


This paper builds off previous research into the effect of population size and resource risk on complexity of subsistence technology by investigating the relationship between these independent variables and total number of material items and techniques used by various western North American hunter-gatherer groups. This tally of total technological complexity is found to be insignificantly related to population size or residential mobility; however, there is a significant correlation in the expected direction between technological complexity and one measure of resource risk (mean annual temperature during driest month). Tying this finding to previous analyses of subsistence technologies, the authors theorize that environmental risk is a pervasive driver of technological ingenuity and cultural evolution.

Documents and Hypotheses Filed By:jack.dunnington