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    Posted: 07-Jun-2009 at 20:17

In the Americas section some of us discuss wether the "double continent" were settled "fast" or "slowly". Why not discuss early human mobility in general? Were our very early ancestors generally rather less mobile, lived isolated, and had to use very long time to spread around the planet (even when "natural barriers" fell and it became habitable), or were they fundamentally as mobile as we are(of course unmotorisied), if not perhaps even perhaps a bit over contemporary average from the time they were really humans, if not long before? My own opinion is that humans always were able to migrate and adapt rather quick compared to our existense "momentarily", to socialise and exchange ideas and items. - only "strong physical barrers" (large oceans, uninhabitable areas) in a few cases created some isolation. An example: there are signs of exchange of items  from notherm to southern europe about 5000 years ago (the age of earliest writing and the "iceman"). Perhaps nothing new from earliest humans on?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Jun-2009 at 21:44
This is indeed a very interesting topic.
 
Another subject that I'm rather interested in is how isolated did pe-historic human populations live from each other. I suppose that each hunter-gatherer tribe only consisted of a few dozen or few hundred people; if they married always within themselves, genetic diseases might arise within a few generations.
However, if human numbers were small and every tribe occupied a very large territory, what were the chances were that they would come into contact with other populations? Did most humans only ever get to meet human beings from their tribe and never any others?
 
According to genetic studies, population encounters and trans-continental migrations did occur; yet only a very long period of time.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Jun-2009 at 22:22
Originally posted by calvo calvo wrote:

This is indeed a very interesting topic.
 
Another subject that I'm rather interested in is how isolated did pe-historic human populations live from each other. I suppose that each hunter-gatherer tribe only consisted of a few dozen or few hundred people; if they married always within themselves, genetic diseases might arise within a few generations.
However, if human numbers were small and every tribe occupied a very large territory, what were the chances were that they would come into contact with other populations? Did most humans only ever get to meet human beings from their tribe and never any others?
 
According to genetic studies, population encounters and trans-continental migrations did occur; yet only a very long period of time.
  But it is hard to see this idea of "slowness" is necessary true! I see for instance, early humans as able to walk as any soldier in any great march, be it military campaign or peacefull travel known from history. There is known some "great marches" from history, most of them done by the two legs. I see no reason at all prehistoric legs were less capable. Neither do I see why they should live in isolation, since there may have been a population whereever people could live. There must be very great uncertainty about early populations too, and difficult to find what may have been some of the most populated places. Especially if they are know hard to reach for scientists, like sites now covered by water.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote es_bih Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Jun-2009 at 23:11
Most of those great marches didn't happen until very well late into Human history. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jun-2009 at 06:45
Originally posted by es_bih es_bih wrote:

Most of those great marches didn't happen until very well late into Human history. 
Of course not! But the reason may rather be we do not know that much about earlier travels. But basically early humans may supposed to be as "fit" for long distance walking as later days "marchers" - if not a bit more, since it seems a reasonable hypothesis that people that hunt for a living may be "well trained" from childhood, while agriculturalists and those living in cities may be so, but not necessary as much!
And yes the most known long walks (perhaps there is many more than I know about)probably were made by soldiers, adults. On the other hand a soldier may cary with him much equipment and fight and even loot some of the time, reorganise  etcetera.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jun-2009 at 08:41
hunter-gatherer populations were normally nomadic, who moved about following their game. Most of the great-distance migrations began with the trailing of animal footprints.
I suppose that most tribes would not have voluntarily migrated over long distances if it wasn't out of necessity.
What type of necessity could arise? For example, if the food resources in an area had run out due to climate change or over-hunting. What could also be a reason could be human multiplication. If numbers of a tribe reached a certain level, some members would have to move on to a different area to seek for more food resources. Under normal circumstances they would not normally move a large distance away from the mother tribe, most probably just far enough to find a new territory that they could live off.

I could imagine that if you apply a model: that with every generation, the children move to an area 50km from the parents, in 2000 years (80 generations), they would have dispersed over a distance of 4000 km!


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jun-2009 at 11:24
IIRC Lévi Strauss's doctoral thesis ncluded studying the process with which Amazonian tribes established new settlements. It takes a very specific effort to leave an established locale and settle in the wild even in similar habitats, unless some kind of trauma occurs to make it necessary. It therefore doesn't happen very often, and it happens far less often if the move is from one type of habitat to another, with the consequent necessity of learning new survival techniques.
 
This is also specially true of preliterate cultures where knowledge and experience can be quickly lost in a few generations after migration has made them irrelevant.
 
None of this really has anything at all to do with the physical mobility of humans (any more than speed of social/cultural development has anything to do with different human capabilities, as Strauss and Diamond among others point out.
 
I don't doubt that humans have always been able to walk easily at around four miles per hour, yet cultures spread at speeds more like a fraction of a mile per year, even in favourable circumstances - i.e. when they are spreading across similar environments. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jun-2009 at 15:44
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

IIRC Lévi Strauss's doctoral thesis ncluded studying the process with which Amazonian tribes established new settlements. It takes a very specific effort to leave an established locale and settle in the wild even in similar habitats, unless some kind of trauma occurs to make it necessary. It therefore doesn't happen very often, and it happens far less often if the move is from one type of habitat to another, with the consequent necessity of learning new survival techniques.
 
This is also specially true of preliterate cultures where knowledge and experience can be quickly lost in a few generations after migration has made them irrelevant.
 
None of this really has anything at all to do with the physical mobility of humans (any more than speed of social/cultural development has anything to do with different human capabilities, as Strauss and Diamond among others point out.
 
I don't doubt that humans have always been able to walk easily at around four miles per hour, yet cultures spread at speeds more like a fraction of a mile per year, even in favourable circumstances - i.e. when they are spreading across similar environments. 
  This leaves some questions:
1. How much does anthropological research in the field tell us about early humans?
An idea contemporary "indigenous" people are rather different in many ways from our ancestors could be worth considering. I could at least imagine some reasons for such possible differences.
2: An example of mobility may be inuits, thats seems both to have travelled long distances (sometimes), and migrated (there may be other examples as well that I do not know about. and of course if we may doubt amazonian indians are "representative" we may have the same doubts about inuits).
3:If trauma could be reason to migrations then why not the opposite?  Perhaps some groups migrated if they found far better places for hunting elsewhere?
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jun-2009 at 18:59
Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

This leaves some questions:
Indeed.
Quote
1. How much does anthropological research in the field tell us about early humans?
An idea contemporary "indigenous" people are rather different in many ways from our ancestors could be worth considering. I could at least imagine some reasons for such possible differences.
It's easily the best evidence we have. Of course it gets harder and harder to find cultures that are not affected by contact with modern humans.
 
To some extent I guess we can also use observations of primate behaviour in the wild. Almost anything is better than just speculating. One thing though is that we should assume that primitive humans were just as capable we we are with regard to basic intellectzual and physical abilities (and no more so).
Quote
2: An example of mobility may be inuits, thats seems both to have travelled long distances (sometimes), and migrated (there may be other examples as well that I do not know about. and of course if we may doubt amazonian indians are "representative" we may have the same doubts about inuits).
Inuits would of course be evidential. However, Inuit migration has been strictly into similar environments. I justdon't know of Inuit studies like those of Lévi Strauss's in Brazil, which I only know about through researching into the manifestations of 'leadership' qualities (insofar as there are any).
 
Generally speaking the creation of a new settlement needs the emergence of a 'leader'.
Quote
3:If trauma could be reason to migrations then why not the opposite? 
Because if you're content with what you have, and you don't know anything else exists, there's no point in moving. The grass is only always greener in the other man's yard if you know there is another man's yard.
 
The early migrants into Alaska for instance had no idea whatsoever there might be better living conditions anywhere else. They hadn't even taken Geography 101.
Quote
 Perhaps some groups migrated if they found far better places for hunting elsewhere?
How would they find them? You're teetering on a circular argument - they'd go looking for a better place because they had come across a better place when they were looking for a better place (even though they were happy where they were).
 
Incidentally, a human nowadays takes about a month to walk from Lands End to John O'Groats on roads, two-three months off road. I've no doubt a prehistoric human could have done much the same. But how long do you think it took for human settlement to go from the south coast of Britain to the north when they returned after the ice ages?


Edited by gcle2003 - 08-Jun-2009 at 19:01
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jun-2009 at 21:22
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

This leaves some questions:
Indeed.
Quote
1. How much does anthropological research in the field tell us about early humans?
An idea contemporary "indigenous" people are rather different in many ways from our ancestors could be worth considering. I could at least imagine some reasons for such possible differences.
It's easily the best evidence we have. Of course it gets harder and harder to find cultures that are not affected by contact with modern humans.
 
To some extent I guess we can also use observations of primate behaviour in the wild. Almost anything is better than just speculating.
Some "speculations" could perhaps help (they may seem self evident, but worth remembering):
1:All cultures have experienced specialisation of some kinds (the present specialisation were not from "beginning" of humankind).
2:Anthropologists and other field researchers never had acces to a planet of palaeolithic" peoples, but to those living in areas farmers and pastoralists had not ýet taken (or alternatively made the hunterers farmers). It may not be a wildly controversial statement that what was left to them(the hunterers) in recent times were what the farmers ound of little value, or hardly to reach because difficulties for transportation etcetera. so there was no attractive places to go and hunting people of course tried to not loose what was left rather than to migrate to even less attractive places. How then can we say anything(from experience) about a situation were they there may have been attractive places to go?
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

One thing though is that we should assume that primitive humans were just as capable we we are with regard to basic intellectzual and physical abilities (and no more so).
Quote
2: An example of mobility may be inuits, thats seems both to have travelled long distances (sometimes), and migrated (there may be other examples as well that I do not know about. and of course if we may doubt amazonian indians are "representative" we may have the same doubts about inuits).
Inuits would of course be evidential. However, Inuit migration has been strictly into similar environments. I just don't know of Inuit studies like those of Lévi Strauss's in Brazil, which I only know about through researching into the manifestations of 'leadership' qualities (insofar as there are any).
I thought about all inuits as having nearly the same lifestyle untill I read about an inland "tribe" in Alaska(Nunamiut). There is allso different variations in parts of Scandinavia.
 
 
 
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Generally speaking the creation of a new settlement needs the emergence of a 'leader'.
At least someone have to start, take initiative.
Why could there not allways have been someone that did?
 
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Quote
3:If trauma could be reason to migrations then why not the opposite? 
Because if you're content with what you have, and you don't know anything else exists, there's no point in moving. The grass is only always greener in the other man's yard if you know there is another man's yard.
Some people may have looked, some were perhaps curious. We assume they had the same capabilities as "us" - some even perhaps as the brightest, the nobel laureates etcetera. Since it was hard to get to university someone perhaps used those brains for other purposes. Perhaps some were more restless, or more adventurous, or would impress others.
 
  
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

The early migrants into Alaska for instance had no idea whatsoever there might be better living conditions anywhere else. They hadn't even taken Geography 101.
It may be reasonable to say hunting (or fishing or similar) must have been a very large part of their lives from infancy. It is hard to believe that there were not some really, really good ones!How could a good hunter or fisher not have some capabilities regarding "geography" in the sense of orientation in landscapes?
 
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Quote
 Perhaps some groups migrated if they found far better places for hunting elsewhere?
How would they find them? You're teetering on a circular argument - they'd go looking for a better place because they had come across a better place when they were looking for a better place (even though they were happy where they were).
You absolutely have a point! Perhaps I have one too: Imagine someone from a group of hunters one day find a new place, very full of favourite game. perhaps the initial succes give teh same individual or others in the group an idea of investigating further, observe if there may be even more such new good places.
 
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Incidentally, a human nowadays takes about a month to walk from Lands End to John O'Groats on roads, two-three months off road. I've no doubt a prehistoric human could have done much the same. But how long do you think it took for human settlement to go from the south coast of Britain to the north when they returned after the ice ages?
It depends completely on the geography at that time! If all ice disappeared at once, and there was the right conditions they could have done it in rather short time I think. They probably followed their favourite game, and perhaps in the meantime even found some new).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 11:47
Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

[It's easily the best evidence we have. Of course it gets harder and harder to find cultures that are not affected by contact with modern humans.
 
To some extent I guess we can also use observations of primate behaviour in the wild. Almost anything is better than just speculating.
Some "speculations" could perhaps help (they may seem self evident, but worth remembering):
1:All cultures have experienced specialisation of some kinds (the present specialisation were not from "beginning" of humankind).
2:Anthropologists and other field researchers never had acces to a planet of palaeolithic" peoples, but to those living in areas farmers and pastoralists had not ýet taken (or alternatively made the hunterers farmers). It may not be a wildly controversial statement that what was left to them(the hunterers) in recent times were what the farmers ound of little value, or hardly to reach because difficulties for transportation etcetera. so there was no attractive places to go and hunting people of course tried to not loose what was left rather than to migrate to even less attractive places. How then can we say anything(from experience) about a situation were they there may have been attractive places to go?
 
What we can safely say is that they didn't KNOW there were more attractive places to go. You wouldn't know that unless you had been there, or someone had come from there: in either case you need motivation for the move.
Quote
I thought about all inuits as having nearly the same lifestyle untill I read about an inland "tribe" in Alaska(Nunamiut). There is allso different variations in parts of Scandinavia.
I said 'similar' not 'identical'. For instance daylight lengths are (at least roughly) the same in all Inuit territories. Moreover the Inuit don't live in Alaska or Scandinavia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eskimo#Nomenclature
 
Quote
 
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Generally speaking the creation of a new settlement needs the emergence of a 'leader'.
At least someone have to start, take initiative.
Why could there not allways have been someone that did?
There were. I'm not claimiing no-one ever migrated. But people who are willing to go off on their own into the wilderness and start their own settlement are pretty rare at any time. The frequency with which they do that is a much more important factor than how fast they can walk. So is the direction in which they go: new settlements are set up one after another in a straight line.
Quote
 
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Quote
3:If trauma could be reason to migrations then why not the opposite? 
Because if you're content with what you have, and you don't know anything else exists, there's no point in moving. The grass is only always greener in the other man's yard if you know there is another man's yard.
Some people may have looked, some were perhaps curious. We assume they had the same capabilities as "us" - some even perhaps as the brightest, the nobel laureates etcetera. Since it was hard to get to university someone perhaps used those brains for other purposes. Perhaps some were more restless, or more adventurous, or would impress others.
Their brains were pretty fully occupied with the tasks of staying alive, as for instance with predicting and understanding animal behaviours and searching for and protecting crop stands. (Gatherers didn't go around picking up any food they chanced to find. They learned at the very least the signs pointing to useful areas, and the techniques for keeping rivals for the food - including animals - away.) Less practically - though it had a role in transmitting useful knowledge - intellects appear to have been always active in creating, remembering and telling folk tales and religious myths.
 
Or painting magical spells on the walls of caves....
 
And of course some would be more restless than others but you are still assuming early humans knew that what they knew wasn't all there was to know. I doubt that 'restless' is really the appropriate characteristic. Something like 'egocentric' might be more to the point: would be chiefs for instance who couldn't become chiefs. At an earlier stage the similar phenomenon of young males unable to achieve mates in their kinship group.
Quote  
  
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

The early migrants into Alaska for instance had no idea whatsoever there might be better living conditions anywhere else. They hadn't even taken Geography 101.
It may be reasonable to say hunting (or fishing or similar) must have been a very large part of their lives from infancy. It is hard to believe that there were not some really, really good ones!How could a good hunter or fisher not have some capabilities regarding "geography" in the sense of orientation in landscapes?
What I meant was that they had no idea conditions were any different in other parts of the planet. Why would they? Where would that knowledge come from? No matter how intelligent people are, they are limited by the knowledge available to their community.
 
To move they would have had to have a reason to move other than that georgahical conditions might be better somewhere else.
Quote  
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Quote
 Perhaps some groups migrated if they found far better places for hunting elsewhere?
How would they find them? You're teetering on a circular argument - they'd go looking for a better place because they had come across a better place when they were looking for a better place (even though they were happy where they were).
You absolutely have a point! Perhaps I have one too: Imagine someone from a group of hunters one day find a new place, very full of favourite game. perhaps the initial succes give teh same individual or others in the group an idea of investigating further, observe if there may be even more such new good places.
That undoubtedly would happen. However again that has nothing at all to do with the speed with which people walk. Moreover it's quite likely to lead to circular movement or seasinal migration back and forth rather than to continued migration in a particular direction.
Quote
 
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Incidentally, a human nowadays takes about a month to walk from Lands End to John O'Groats on roads, two-three months off road. I've no doubt a prehistoric human could have done much the same. But how long do you think it took for human settlement to go from the south coast of Britain to the north when they returned after the ice ages?
It depends completely on the geography at that time! If all ice disappeared at once, and there was the right conditions they could have done it in rather short time I think. They probably followed their favourite game, and perhaps in the meantime even found some new).
It's me that is claiming it depends on the geography, not on the speed with which people can walk. Of course it depends on how fast the ice receded - that's my point. However, even if all the ice vanished at once it would still take more than a couple of months for vegetale and animal life, not just human, to recover the whole island.


Edited by gcle2003 - 09-Jun-2009 at 11:52
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The speed of spreading and migrations probably varied a lot because of different geographic circumstances and different modes of subsistance.

In Scandinavia the first people seem to have followed the reindeer northwards. The reindeer in it´s turn seem to have followed the receeding ice. At the same time the reindeer followed a seasonal cyle with movements norhtwards and also uphills in the summer and southwards and downhills in the winter. People probably followed that pattern too.

 

As the ice continued to receed northward the whole complex of southwards – northwards wanderings followed. As the ice went away gradually new plants and animals arrived. At the same time climate changed. Some people adapted to the new circumsances and created new forms of subsistence. These new groups in their turn spread to new areas where they continued to adapt to local circumstances. Some others seem to have continued northward following the reindeer. All this spreading and adapting gave way to new cultural patterns in different areas. As we can see the patterns after a while could be rather complicated and the migrations could also bee rather complicated.

 

So the speed of migration could probably vary a lot because of local circumstances and differences in environment and subsistence, geography and material and behavioural culture.



Edited by Carcharodon - 09-Jun-2009 at 12:30
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 13:34
In the current issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics there is an interesting article detailing current work at the University of Leeds, which is also available direct from the UL:
 
 
"Hard" evidence is also in the news in terms of the Americas, where University of Michigan archaeologists have revealed a Paleo-Amerindian site beneath Lake Huron dating from before the final formation of the Great Lakes.
 
 
Nevertheless, if by "geography one means the ability of an eco-system to provide the necessities of life then a stable environment would hardly be conducive to "mass migration" save in the presence of population pressures taxing that environment.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 15:00
Very interesting results in both of these studies indeed.
 
"The Paleo-Indians were nomadic and pursued big game, O'Shea said. With the Archaic period, communities were more settled, with larger populations, a broad spectrum economy, and new long distance trade and ceremonial connections."
 
This shift from big game hunting to a more broad spectrum economy is also visible here in Scandinavia in the transition between the late paleolithic and the mesolitic periods. Because of the elongated form of the Scandinavian peninsula this shift occurs at different times in different places.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 16:18
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

What we can safely say is that they didn't KNOW there were more attractive places to go. You wouldn't know that unless you had been there, or someone had come from there: in either case you need motivation for the move. [QUOTE]
Well, one stand on a high point with a good view and get an impression what is around in a distance. One can look at the animals, where they go. Perhaps it even happened that early humans lost their way(because of weather, being inexperienced) and unvoluntarely ended op a "new" place. I admit it is hard for me to see it as a very big problem for them.
[QUOTE=gcle2003]
I said 'similar' not 'identical'. For instance daylight lengths are (at least roughly) the same in all Inuit territories. Moreover the Inuit don't live in Alaska or Scandinavia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eskimo#Nomenclature
 [QUOTE]
It depends very much upon what we call "roughly similar". Green land from North to South(60N - 83N) about as much as from Northafrica to Greenland (or Shetland Islands- Oslo, Helsinki, Skt.Petersburg) Some month without sunset in Northern part, not so at the other end.
 [QUOTE=gcle2003]
 
 
There were. I'm not claimiing no-one ever migrated. But people who are willing to go off on their own into the wilderness and start their own settlement are pretty rare at any time. The frequency with which they do that is a much more important factor than how fast they can walk. So is the direction in which they go: new settlements are set up one after another in a straight line.
[QUOTE] Farmers may see uncultivated regions as "wilderness", but do hunters and gatherers see it the same way? In a similar way one may ask if they necessecarily had any "settlements" in the sense of rather permanent or semi-permanent places of rest.
[QUOTE=gcle2003]
It's me that is claiming it depends on the geography, not on the speed with which people can walk. Of course it depends on how fast the ice receded - that's my point. However, even if all the ice vanished at once it would still take more than a couple of months for vegetale and animal life, not just human, to recover the whole island.
  Volcanic islands has been covered with plants and full of animal life in surprisingly short spans of time (years). If, hypothetically an island the size of Britain did the same in some decades, and people followed, it is still not much compared to about 10000 years.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 17:57
This leads to another thought: did humans actually migrate, or did they simply expand?
Did the number of human beings grow steadily over the generations as they left Africa and spread across the world?

Migration and expansion has a different meaning in that migration means the abandonment of the old habitat to seek a new one; while expansion means an offshoot of the old settlement seeking a new settlement, while the "old community" remains.

My gut feeling tells me that ancient humans populated the world more via expansion than migration. It could simply be caused by overpopulation of an existing tribe, so that certain members had to go off and find a new hunting ground, so they set off in any direction where they could find food; yet the old tribe remained where it was.

Considering that human beings had learned to deal with natural predators like wolves, lions, the tigers; and that epidemics were rare in the paleolthic age, the only factors that could keep the numbers in check was the climate; so that without natural catastrophes such as the Ice Age, human settlements would simply grow and grow and spread to newer territories.





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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 19:15

As I mentioned above I think spreading and migration can have looked different and had different causes depending on what place and what time they occured in. For example as the case of Scandinavia suggests there could be migration to follow wild game (reindeer and similar). There could also be migration because of lack of resources or expanding because overpopulation. One could also suggest more political, religious and cultural reasons for different kinds of movements.

And movement probably didn´t follow a steady rate but took place in waves with both faster and slower progression.
 
People didn´t always follow straight lines either, instead they moved around natural obstacles and also moved towards resources like game, fish, edibel plants and similar.
 


Edited by Carcharodon - 09-Jun-2009 at 19:16
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 19:17
Originally posted by calvo calvo wrote:

This leads to another thought: did humans actually migrate, or did they simply expand?
Did the number of human beings grow steadily over the generations as they left Africa and spread across the world?

Migration and expansion has a different meaning in that migration means the abandonment of the old habitat to seek a new one; while expansion means an offshoot of the old settlement seeking a new settlement, while the "old community" remains.

My gut feeling tells me that ancient humans populated the world more via expansion than migration. It could simply be caused by overpopulation of an existing tribe, so that certain members had to go off and find a new hunting ground, so they set off in any direction where they could find food; yet the old tribe remained where it was.
There may well have been some periods of population growth as well as the opposite. If there was what we may call "long term continuous growth" of any significance is harder to imagine. Even a steady, continuous doubling rate in, say 500 years would in a small fraction of our existence have resulted in absurdly high numbers!

Originally posted by calvo calvo wrote:


Considering that human beings had learned to deal with natural predators like wolves, lions, the tigers; and that epidemics were rare in the paleolthic age, the only factors that could keep the numbers in check was the climate; so that without natural catastrophes such as the Ice Age, human settlements would simply grow and grow and spread to newer territories.





And I could add: Since Africa is not known as the continent lacking dangerous animals (for humans), rather the opposite, there is no reason humans should find the other continennts beasts more scary than those they knew "from home". Even african diseases may not be more bening.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 19:36

The rate in which the population increases is also dependant on different factors as access of a steady supply of food and other necessities and also a development of a technology to utilize these resources. As an example we can see that here in Scandinavia there was an increase in population in certain coastal areas because a rather rich supply of marine foodstuff and the contemporary development of technology and strategies to obtain it. In this particular case it didn´t always lead to migration but also the adoption of agriculture who had been around just a little bit to the south for about 1000 years (maybe it´s not fully so simple, the adoption of agriculture can also have had sociopolitical causes since it increased the amount of goods that could be traded with, could be used for creating power structures and also could be used for cultural and cultic events).

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 20:10
Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

  Volcanic islands has been covered with plants and full of animal life in surprisingly short spans of time (years). If, hypothetically an island the size of Britain did the same in some decades, and people followed, it is still not much compared to about 10000 years.
What volcanic islands are you talking about?
 
Anyway, when small volcanic islands are created, the change happens very fast, surrounding climates remain the same and of course it doesn't take long for life to take hold, since any life round about is already adapted to the conditions - temperature, light patterns, seasonal rhythms - on the island. The situation has nothing in common with that of Britain during the retreat of the ice cover.
 
Moreover, what you're saying now still has nothing to do with the physical mobility of humans at the time. Mortality and proneness to debilitating disease and famine would be more important factors than walking speed.
 
PS: I agree with the point about migration vs expansion, and I accept I've been using the term 'migration' rather loosely.
 
Human beings have populated the world more by expansion than migration (indeed be definition 'migration' doesn't fill up any space that wasn't filled before) so mostly I've been talking about expansion.
 
(Of course in an expansion situation what happens is that some of the population migrates and the rest stay put, so both phenomena can co-exist.)
 
 


Edited by gcle2003 - 09-Jun-2009 at 20:16
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