Paleolithic population growth pulses evidenced by small animal exploitation

Mary C Stiner, Natalie D. Munro, Todd A. Surovell, Eitan Tchernov, Ofer Bar-Yosef

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325 Scopus citations


Variations in small game hunting along the northern and eastern rims of the Mediterranean Sea and results from predator-prey simulation modeling indicate that human population densities increased abruptly during the late Middle Paleolithic and again during the Upper and Epi-Paleolithic periods. The demographic pulses are evidenced by increasing reliance on agile, fast- reproducing partridges, hares, and rabbits at the expense of slow- reproducing but easily caught tortoises and marine shellfish and, concurrently, climate-independent size diminution in tortoises and shellfish. The results indicate that human populations of the early Middle Paleolithic were exceptionally small and highly dispersed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-194
Number of pages5
Issue number5399
Publication statusPublished - Jan 8 1999


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

Stiner, M. C., Munro, N. D., Surovell, T. A., Tchernov, E., & Bar-Yosef, O. (1999). Paleolithic population growth pulses evidenced by small animal exploitation. Science, 283(5399), 190-194.