Human Ecology

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 227–243 | Cite as

Colonization of the Americas: Disease Ecology and the Paleoindian Lifestyle

  • Nicole M. Waguespack

Abstract

The disease barrier hypothesis is one long-standing explanation of the temporal discrepancies between the initial colonization of North and South America. The model postulates an epidemiological barrier that prohibited or slowed the initial migration into South America during the Late Pleistocene. Using data from ethnographically documented hunter–gatherers, the theoretical foundations of the hypothesis are explored. In addition, likely demographic effects to colonizing populations are postulated and compared to disease-response mechanisms in foraging societies. Based on identified disease conditions deemed necessary to maintain a prohibitive barrier, it is suggested that disease transmission rates in the initial colonizing populations of the New World were likely extremely limited and insufficient to support the disease barrier concept.

disease barrier hypothesis epidemiology New World colonization Paleo-indian 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. Adovasio, J. M., and Pedler, D. R. (1997). Monte Verde and the antiquity of humankind in the America. Antiquity 71: 573–580.Google Scholar
  2. Alsoszatai-Petho, J. (1986). An alternative paradigm for the study of early man in the new world. In Bryan, A. L. (ed.), New Evidence for the Pleistocene Peopling of the Americas, Center for the Study of Early Man, Orono.Google Scholar
  3. Bailey, R. C. (1991). The behavioral ecology of Efe pygmy men in the Ituri forest, Zaire, Anthropological Papers, Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan No. 86, Ann Arbor.Google Scholar
  4. Black, F. L. (1975). Infectious diseases in primitive societies: Many common disease are not maintained in primitive society and probably did not affect human evolution. Science 187: 515–518.Google Scholar
  5. Black, F. L. (1980). Modern isolate Pre-agricultural populations as a source of information on prehistoric epidemic patterns. In Stanley, N., and Joske, R. (eds.), Changing Disease Patterns and Human Behavior, Academic Press, London.Google Scholar
  6. Busvine, J. R. (1980). The evolution and mutual adaptation of insects, microorganisms and man. In Stanley, N., and Joske, R. (eds.), Changing Disease Patterns and Human Behavior, Academic Press, London.Google Scholar
  7. Croll, N. A. (1983). Human behavior, parasites, and infectious disease. In Croll, N. A., and Cross, J. H. (eds.), Human Ecology and Infectious Disease, Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  8. Dillehay, T.D. (1991). Disease ecology and initial human migration. In Dillehay, T., and Meltzer, D. (eds.), The First Americans: Search and Research, CRC Press, Boca Raton.Google Scholar
  9. Dillehay, T. D. (1997). Monte Verde: A Late Pleistocene Settlement in Chile, Vol. 2, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington DC.Google Scholar
  10. Dunn, F. (1968). Epidemiological factors: Health and disease in hunter-gatherers. In Lee, R., and Devore, J. (eds.), Man the Hunter, Aldine, Chicago.Google Scholar
  11. Dunn, F. (1972). Intestinal parasitism in malayan aborigines. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 46: 99–113.Google Scholar
  12. Early, J. D., and Headland, T. N. (1998). Population Dynamics of a Philippine Rain Forest People, University Press of Florida, Gainesville.Google Scholar
  13. Fenner, F. (1980). Sociocultural change and environmental diseases. In Stanley, N., and Joske, R. (eds.), Changing Disease Patterns and Human Behavior, Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  14. Fladmark, K. R. (1979). Routes: Alternative migration corridors for early man in North America. American Antiquity 44: 55–69.Google Scholar
  15. Goodyear, A. C. (1989). A hypothesis for the use of cryptocrystalline raw materials among Paleoindian groups of North America. In Ellis, C. J., and Lothrop, J. C. (eds.), Eastern Paleoindian Lithic Resource Use, Westview Press, Boulder.Google Scholar
  16. Gruhn, R. B. (1988). Linguistic Evidence in Support of the Coastal Route of Earliest Entry into the NewWorld. Man 23: 77–100.Google Scholar
  17. Guidon, N., and Arnaud, M. B. (1991). The Chronology of the New World: Two Faces of one Reality. World Archaeology 23(2): 167–178.Google Scholar
  18. Hassell, M. P., and Wilson, H. B. (1997). The Dynamics of Spatially Distributed Host-Parasitoid Systems. In Tilman, D., and Kareiva, P. (eds.), Spatial Ecology: The Role of Space in Population Dynamics and Interspecific Interactions, Princeton University Press, Princeton.Google Scholar
  19. Haynes, C. V., Jr. (1966). Elephant-hunting in North America. Scientific American 214: 104–112.Google Scholar
  20. Hester, J. J., and Grady, J. (1977). Paleoindian social patterns on the Llano Estacado. In Johnson, E. (ed.), Paleo-Indian Lifeways, The Museum Journal 17, West Texas Museum Association, Lubbock.Google Scholar
  21. Hill, K., and Hurtado, A. M. (1996). Ache Life History: The Ecology and Demography of a Foraging People, Aldine, New York.Google Scholar
  22. Holmes, E. E. (1997). Basic epidemiological concepts in a Spatial Context. In Tilman, D., and Kareiva, P. (eds.), Spatial Ecology: The Role of Space in Population Dynamics and Interspecific Interactions, Princeton University Press, Princeton.Google Scholar
  23. Howell, N. (1979). Demography of the Dobe !Kung, Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  24. Jaffe, A. J. (1992). The First Immigrants from Asia: A Population History of the North American Indians, Plenum Press, New York.Google Scholar
  25. Kelly, R.L. (1995). The Foraging Spectrum: Diversity in Hunter-Gatherer Lifeways, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington DC.Google Scholar
  26. Kelly, R. L., and Todd, L. C. (1988). Coming into the country: Early paleoindian hunting and mobility. American Antiquity 53(2): 231–244.Google Scholar
  27. Kent, S. (1986). The influence of sedentism and aggregation on sorotic hyperostosis and anemia. Man 21: 605–636.Google Scholar
  28. Lynch, T. F. (1991). The peopling of the Americas—A Discussion. In Dillehay, T., and Meltzer, D. (eds.), The First Americans: Search and Research, CRC Press, Boca Raton.Google Scholar
  29. McNeill, W. H. (1980). Migration patterns and infection in traditional societies. In Stanley, N., and Joske, R. (eds.), Changing Disease Patterns and Human Behavior, Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  30. Neel, J.V. (1962). Diabetes mellitus:A“thrifty” genotype rendered detrimental by “progress?” American Journal of Human Genetics 14: 353–362.Google Scholar
  31. Nelson, G. S. (1972). Human behavior in the transmission of parasitic disease. In Canning, E. U., and Wright, C. A. (eds.), Behavioral Aspects of Parasite Transmission, University of Toronto Press, Toronto.Google Scholar
  32. Patterson, T. C. (1973). America's Past: A New World Archaeology, Scott, Foresman and Company, Glenview.Google Scholar
  33. Peacock, N. R. (1985). Time Allocation, Work and Fertility Among Efe Pygmy Women in the Ituri Forest of Notheast Zaire, PhD. Dissertation, Harvard University.Google Scholar
  34. Sievers, M. L., and Fisher, J. R. (1981). Diseases of North American Indians. In Rothschild, H. (ed.), Biocultural Aspects of Disease, Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  35. Steward, J. H. (1960). Carrier acculturation: The direct historical approach. In Diamond, S. (ed.), Culture in History, Essays in Honor of Paul Radin, Columbia University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  36. Storck, P. (1991). Imperialists without a state: The cultural dynamics of early Paleoindian colonization as seen from the Great Lakes Region. In Bonnichsen, R., and Turnmire, K. L. (eds.), Clovis: Origins and Adaptations, Center for the Study of the First Americans, Corvallis.Google Scholar
  37. Way, A. (1981). Diseases of Latin America. In Rothschild, H. (ed.), Biocultural Aspects of Disease, Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  38. Wendorf, M. (1989). Diabetes, the ice free corridor, and the paleoindian settlement of North America. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 79: 503–520.Google Scholar
  39. Whitley, D. S., and Dorn, R. I. (1993). New perspectives on the Clovis vs. Pre-Clovis controversy. American Antiquity 58(4): 626–647.Google Scholar
  40. Wright, H. E. (1991). Environmental conditions for paleoindian immigration. In Dillehay, T., and Meltzer, D. (eds.), The First Americans: Search and Research, CRC Press, Boca Raton.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicole M. Waguespack
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of ArizonaTucson

Personalised recommendations