Learning Strategies and Cultural Evolution during the Palaeolithic

  • Alex Mesoudi
  • Kenichi Aoki

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Laurel Fogarty, Joe Yuichiro Wakano, Marcus W. Feldman, Kenichi Aoki
    Pages 9-21
  3. Anne Kandler, Adam Powell
    Pages 85-101
  4. Mirna Kovacevic, Stephen Shennan, Marian Vanhaeren, Francesco d’Errico, Mark G. Thomas
    Pages 103-120
  5. Michael J. O’Brien, Briggs Buchanan, Matthew T. Boulanger, Alex Mesoudi, Mark Collard, Metin I. Eren et al.
    Pages 121-143
  6. Stephen J. Lycett, Kerstin Schillinger, Marius Kempe, Alex Mesoudi
    Pages 155-166
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 167-169

About this book


This volume is motivated by the desire to explain why Neanderthals were replaced by modern humans, in terms of cultural differences between the two (sub-)species. It provides up-to-date coverage on the theory of cultural evolution as is being used by anthropologists, archaeologists, biologists, and psychologists to decipher hominin cultural change and diversity during the Palaeolithic. The contributing authors are directly involved in this effort, and the material presented includes novel approaches and findings. Chapters explain how learning strategies in combination with social and demographic factors (e.g., population size and mobility patterns) predict cultural evolution in a world without the printing press, television, or the Internet. Also addressed is the inverse problem of how learning strategies may be inferred from actual trajectories of cultural change, for example as seen in the North American Palaeolithic. Mathematics and statistics, a sometimes necessary part of theory, are explained in elementary terms where they appear, with details relegated to appendices. Full citations of the relevant literature will help the reader to further pursue any topic of interest.


Acheulean Handaxe Approximate Bayesian Computation Copying Error Cultural Evolution Cultural Transition Versus Continuity Cultural Transmission Evolution of Teaching Geographical Cultural Variation Individual-based Simulation Laboratory Experiment Moran Model Neanderthal to Human Replacement North American Palaeolithic Residential and Logistical Mobility Semantic Axelrod Model Social Learning

Editors and affiliations

  • Alex Mesoudi
    • 1
  • Kenichi Aoki
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Anthropology and Centre for the Coevolution of Biology and CultureDurham UniversityDurhamUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Organization for the Strategic Coordination of Research and Intellectual PropertiesMeiji UniversityTokyoJapan

Bibliographic information