The Evolution of Migration: the Case of Lapita in the Southwest Pacific

Article

Abstract

Migrations have occurred across the history of the genus Homo and while the movement of pre-modern humans over the globe is typically understood in terms of shifting resource distributions and climate change, that is in ecological terms, the movement of anatomically modern, and specifically Holocene, populations is often explained by human desire to discover new lands, escape despotic leaders, forge trade relationships and other culture-specific intentions. This is a problematic approach to the archaeological and behavioural explanation of human migration. Here an evolutionary and ecological framework is developed to explain various movement behaviours and this framework is applied to the movement of human groups from the inter-visible islands around New Guinea to the widely dispersed archipelagos of the southwest Pacific about 1000 BC. Labelled the Lapita Migration, this movement is explained as a selection-driven range expansion. The development of evolutionary and ecological theory to explain human movement facilitates empirical testing of alternative hypotheses and links different histories of human movement through shared explanatory mechanisms.

Keywords

Dispersal Lapita Oceania Migration Range expansion Selection 

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.AnthropologyThe University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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