The challenges of documenting coevolution and niche construction: The example of domestic spaces

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Abstract

This essay delves into some of the challenges of studying the coevolution of humans and domestic spaces. These constructed arenas center on food preparation, and as part of the heritable niche they can shift the opportunities for, and constraints on, social interaction and cooperation in evolutionary time. Domestic spaces are widely evidenced in the archeological record, but investigators have made little progress in demonstrating causal links between proposed feedback spirals and constructed spaces of any sort. Bridging fine-scale and large-scale processes in coevolutionary systems is a complex problem that must engage higher levels of generative evolutionary theory. Archaeology nonetheless stands to offer a great deal to larger research programs by documenting and analyzing the pathways of change based on site formation processes along with evidence from subsistence refuse and technology. Choice models remain valuable tools for investigating aspects of the fine-scale feedback processes involved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-70
Number of pages8
JournalEvolutionary Anthropology
Volume30
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

Keywords

  • choice models
  • generative evolutionary theory
  • reciprocal causation
  • site formation processes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology

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