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  1. The island biogeography of languagesGavin, Michael C. - Global Ecology and Biogeography, 2012 - 2 Hypotheses

    This paper examines the enormous variation in linguistic diversity among Pacific Islands by testing its relationship with various environmental variables put forth in several common theories of language richness. The researchers identify variables relating to land area and island isolation as accounting for about half of variation in linguistic diversity, suggesting that the other half is a result of complex social factors.

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  2. Process‐based modelling shows how climate and demography shape language diversityGavin, Michael C. - Global Ecology and Biogeography, 2017 - 2 Hypotheses

    Researchers examined both why so many language are spoken today, and why they are so unevenly distributed geographically. Instead of looking at correlative tests, this study uses a process-based simulation model that attempted to predict both the number or precolonial languages in Australia as well as the number of languages per unit of land. The model was based upon three basic assumptions: 1) humans fill unoccupied spaces; 2) rainfall limits population density; 3) groups divide after reaching a maximum population. While researchers used the model strictly on the Australia continent, it was able to correctly explain 56% of spatial variation in language richness, and predict the total number of languages across the continent. The accuracy of this model concludes that climatic conditions and changes in group size are important factors in shaping language diversity patterns and therefore global human cultural diversity.

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  3. The global geography of human subsistenceGavin, Michael C. - Royal Society Open Science, 2018 - 8 Hypotheses

    In this article, the authors seek to determine cross-culturally valid predictors of dominant types of human subsistence around the world. They did this by formulating multiple models that incorporate different combinations of environmental, geographic, and social factors. These models were then used to test various hypotheses posed throughout the anthropological literature surrounding factors that determine dominant subsistence strategies.

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  4. The ecology of religious beliefsBotero, Carlos A. - PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), 2014 - 1 Hypotheses

    Belief in moralizing high gods (MHGs) has been theorized as a response to unfavorable environments, as a way to normalize behavior. In this study, researchers test the theory by creating a model for predicting the distribution of MHGs. They run many alternative models, testing the effects of resource abundance, climate stability, and pertinent social factors on the occurrence of belief in MHGs. Based on the ten most supported models, they create an average model that predicts MHGs within cultures with “excellent” accuracy.

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  5. Hindcasting global population densities reveals forces enabling the origin of agricultureKavanagh, Patrick H. - Nature Human Behavior, 2018 - 3 Hypotheses

    The researchers, using principal component analysis, generalized additive models across 12 agriculture origin locations, and a model predicting hunter-gatherer population density, evaluate hindcasted population density trends to suggest predictors of the development of agriculture. Using domestication as an indicator of agriculture, they test 3 competing hypotheses regarding agriculture development. Their results are consistent with the "surplus" hypothesis, indicating that agriculture arose as population densities increased along with environmental capabilities.

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  6. Cultural transmission and ecological opportunity jointly shaped global patterns of reliance on agricultureVilela, Bruno - Evolutionary Human Sciences, 2020 - 4 Hypotheses

    In this article, the authors seek to investigate why some societies reject agriculture despite its many benefits. By modeling data regarding ecological fitness and cultural transmission, the authors found predictors for the degree to which a society relies on agriculture. The authors conclude that the degree of fitness a local environment had for early domesticates as well as the degree of contact with neighboring societies strongly predicts levels of dependence on agriculture.

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  7. Drivers of global variation in land ownershipKavanaugh, Patrick - Ecography, 2021 - 10 Hypotheses

    Using multiple logistic regression, the researchers compare the relative strength of predictors of land ownership across 102 societies. The analysis finds significant predictive power in factors such as neighbors' property system, population density, and geography.

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  8. Drivers of geographical patterns of North American language diversityCoelho, Marco Túlio Pacheco - Proceedings Royal Society B, 2019 - 3 Hypotheses

    Researchers investigated further into why and how humans speak so many languages across the globe, and why they are spread out unevenly. Using two different path analyses, a Stationary Path analysis and a GWPath, researchers tested the effect of eight different factors on language diversity. Out of the eight variables (river density, topographic complexity, ecoregion richness, temperature and precipitation constancy, climate change velocity, population density, and carrying capacity with group size limits), population density, carrying capacity with group size limit, and ecoregion richness had the strongest direct effects. Overall, the study revealed the role of multiple different mechanisms in shaping language richness patterns. The GWPath showed that not only does the most important predictor of language diversity vary over space, but predictors can also vary in the direction of their effects in different regions. They conclude that there is no universal predictor of language richness.

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  9. Drivers of geographical patterns of North American language diversityCuelho, Mario Tulio Pacheco - Proceedings of the Royal Society, 2019 - 8 Hypotheses

    The authors examine multiple ecological variables as possible predictors of language diversity in North America using path analysis, mechanistic simulation modelling, and geographically weighted regression. They conclude that many of the variables do not predict language diversity, but rather are mediated by population density. The authors also find that the variables' ability to predict is not universal across the continent, but rather more regional.

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  10. Pathways to social inequalityHaynie, Hannah J. - Evolutionary Human Sciences, 2021 - 4 Hypotheses

    In this study, the authors examine pathways to social inequality, specifically social class hierarchy, in 408 non-industrial societies. In a path model, they find social class hierarchy to be directly associated with increased population size, intensive agriculture and large animal husbandry, real property inheritance (unigeniture) and hereditary political succession, with an overall R-squared of 0.45. They conclude that a complex web of effects consisting of environmental variables, mediated by resource intensification, wealth transmission variables, and population size all shape social inequality.

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