Jacob Gardner

Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Reading
  • United Kingdom


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Behind the Paper

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Apr 12, 2020
Replying to marc verhaegen

Thanks, very interesting. I wonder: could parts of this model also be applied to the intercontinental dispersal of early-Pleistocene Homo? It has become clear by now that the apparently "fast" dispersal of "archaic" Homo (ergaster, erectus etc.) as far as Southeast-Asia (e.g. Java, China, the islands of Flores, Suwesi, Luzon) and the Mediterranean coasts and islands happened along the southern Eurasian coasts, islands and rivers (Coastal Dispersal Model, Munro 2010). A diet including the consumption of shallow-aquatic shellfish (rich in brain-specific nutrients such as DHA) can best explain the dramatic brain enlargement seen in Pleistocene archaic Homo (e.g. Cunnane 2005, google "coastal dispersal Pleistocene Homo Verhaegen" for refs).

Hi Marc, thank you for your interest! It would be very interesting to test hypotheses of human dispersal using this model. One concern that I have, though, is that the model requires data that can be associated with taxa in a phylogeny. This limitation biases our tetrapod analyses where phylogenetic information is lacking for many species and trace fossils (trackways) that are biogeographically informative. The same limitation would very much impact reconstructions of past human dispersals since many important species and specimens are not included in current phylogenetic datasets (e.g., Homo luzonensis, other fossils from Asia, and biogeographically informative artifacts). I am very interested in developing biogeographic models that can integrate multiple data types (e.g., body fossils, trace fossils, artifacts, etc.). Thanks again for the read!

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