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Modeling Incipient Use of Neolithic Cultigens by Taiwanese Foragers: Perspectives from Niche Variation Theory, the Prey Choice Model, and the Ideal Free Distribution

Department of Anthropology, Boise State University, 1910 University Dr., Boise, ID 83725, USA
Quaternary 2020, 3(3), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat3030026
Received: 3 June 2020 / Revised: 22 July 2020 / Accepted: 14 August 2020 / Published: 7 September 2020
The earliest evidence for agriculture in Taiwan dates to about 6000 years BP and indicates that farmer-gardeners from Southeast China migrated across the Taiwan Strait. However, little is known about the adaptive interactions between Taiwanese foragers and Neolithic Chinese farmers during the transition. This paper considers theoretical expectations from human behavioral ecology based models and macroecological patterning from Binford’s hunter-gatherer database to scope the range of responses of native populations to invasive dispersal. Niche variation theory and invasion theory predict that the foraging niche breadths will narrow for native populations and morphologically similar dispersing populations. The encounter contingent prey choice model indicates that groups under resource depression from depleted high-ranked resources will increasingly take low-ranked resources upon encounter. The ideal free distribution with Allee effects categorizes settlement into highly ranked habitats selected on the basis of encounter rates with preferred prey, with niche construction potentially contributing to an upswing in some highly ranked prey species. In coastal plain habitats preferred by farming immigrants, interactions and competition either reduced encounter rates with high ranked prey or were offset by benefits to habitat from the creation of a mosaic of succession ecozones by cultivation. Aquatic-focused foragers were eventually constrained to broaden subsistence by increasing the harvest of low ranked resources, then mobility-compatible Neolithic cultigens were added as a niche-broadening tactic. In locations less suitable for farming, fishing and hunting continued as primary foraging tactics for centuries after Neolithic arrivals. The paper concludes with a set of evidence-based archaeological expectations derived from these models. View Full-Text
Keywords: Paleolithic Taiwan; aquatic-focused foraging; Neolithic Taiwan; agricultural adoption; niche variation theory; invasion theory; prey choice model Paleolithic Taiwan; aquatic-focused foraging; Neolithic Taiwan; agricultural adoption; niche variation theory; invasion theory; prey choice model
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MDPI and ACS Style

Yu, P.-L. Modeling Incipient Use of Neolithic Cultigens by Taiwanese Foragers: Perspectives from Niche Variation Theory, the Prey Choice Model, and the Ideal Free Distribution. Quaternary 2020, 3, 26. https://doi.org/10.3390/quat3030026

AMA Style

Yu P-L. Modeling Incipient Use of Neolithic Cultigens by Taiwanese Foragers: Perspectives from Niche Variation Theory, the Prey Choice Model, and the Ideal Free Distribution. Quaternary. 2020; 3(3):26. https://doi.org/10.3390/quat3030026

Chicago/Turabian Style

Yu, Pei-Lin. 2020. "Modeling Incipient Use of Neolithic Cultigens by Taiwanese Foragers: Perspectives from Niche Variation Theory, the Prey Choice Model, and the Ideal Free Distribution" Quaternary 3, no. 3: 26. https://doi.org/10.3390/quat3030026

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