Publication Date: 2017.
Objectives: The early groups of hunter-gatherers who peopled South America faced significant ecological changes in their trophic niche for a relatively short period after the initial peopling. In particular, the incorporation of cultigens during the Holocene led to a wider trophic niche and probably to an increased carrying capacity of the environment. Here, we study the relationship between the incorporation of domestic resources during the Holocene and the demographic dynamics of human populations at a regional scale in South America. Material and methods: We employ mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), radiocarbon data and Bayesian methods to estimate differences in population size, human occupation and explore the demographic changes of human populations in three regions (i.e., South-Central Andes, Northwest, and South Patagonia). We also use archaeological evidence to infer the main diet changes in these regions. Results: The absolute population size during the later Late Holocene was fifteen times larger in the South-Central Andes than in Northwest Patagonia, and two times larger in the latter region than in South Patagonia. The South-Central Andes display the earlier and more abrupt population growth, beginning about 9000 years BP, whereas Northwest Patagonia exhibits a more slow growth, beginning about 7000–7500 years BP. South Patagonia represents a later and slower population increase. Discussion: In this work we uncovered a well-supported pattern of the demographic change in the populations from South-Central Andes and Patagonia, obtained on the basis of different data and quantitative approaches, which suggests that the incorporation of domestic resources was paramount for the demographic expansion of these populations during the Holocene.
Author affiliation: Perez, Sergio Ivan. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas; Argentina. Universidad Nacional de La Plata. Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Museo; Argentina
Author affiliation: Postillone, María Bárbara. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas; Argentina. Universidad Maimónides. Área de Investigaciones Biomédicas y Biotecnológicas. Centro de Estudios Biomédicos, Biotecnológicos, Ambientales y de Diagnóstico; Argentina
Author affiliation: Rindel, Diego Damián. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas; Argentina. Secretaría de Cultura de la Nación. Dirección Nacional de Cultura y Museos. Instituto Nacional de Antropología y Pensamiento Latinoamericano; Argentina
Repository: CONICET Digital (CONICET). Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas