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Optimal Foraging and Agricultural Origins

Optimal Foraging and Agricultural Origins - Optimal...

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Optimal Foraging and Agricultural Origins A detailed argument along these lines has been developed by Bruce Winterhalder & Carol Goland (1997; summarized in Winterhalder & Kennett 2006) Winterhalder-Goland model explicitly incorporates optimal foraging theory (in form of prey-choice/diet-breadth model) along with population ecology and archaeological information on characteristics of many proto-domesticates According to this model, since climate deterioration or resource depletion would favor a wider diet breadth (as per prey-choice model), in particular times & places this might mean incorporation of low-ranked but abundant resources (e.g., PDs) into the diet; if this diet-breadth expansion persisted, it could then be followed by intentional or coevolutionary enhancement of yield (i.e, genetic modification of PD into a domesticate) Although the initial stages of this process would look like just more of the same (foraging intensification), those PDs that were abundant ( not same as high-ranked or efficient) and capable of rapid reproduction (e.g., weedy plants) might rapidly become
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