Darwin and Archaeology: A Handbook of Key Concepts

By Gary M. Feinman; John P. Hart et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 14

Population

Kevin M. Kelly


INTRODUCTION

Like other concepts encountered in this volume, population has a variety of meanings (e.g., demographic, Malthusian, ecological, genetic, statistical, evolutionary, Darwinian). For example, statisticians define a population as the entire set of items or measures of interest. Demographic uses of the term focus on individuals circumscribed by geopolitical boundaries (Howell 1975:17-18; Kertzer and Fricke 1997; Levy and Lemeshow 1999). Similarly, population ecologists use the term to describe the aggregated members of a species within some defined area (e.g., Andrewartha 1971:10; Sutherland 1996:1-4). Population biologists (e.g., Hastings 1997:1) define a population as “a group of individuals of the same species that have a high probability of interacting with each other.” Population geneticists restrict the definition further, identifying a population as a group of interbreeding organisms of the same species (Futuyma 1997; Hanski 1999).

Underlying all of these manifestations is the fundamental notion of the population as a “defined collection.” Grouped as populations, individuals (and items) exhibit collective properties (e.g., density, size, age structure, a life history, a distribution in time and space, gene frequencies). Populations can be of any size and although the elements need not be identical, they must share at least one measurable attribute. The presence (or absence) of a single attribute is the simplest form of specification. The variables used to identify population membership may be interval (e.g., weight, birth order, antiquity), categorical (e.g., gender, location, language, presence/absence), ordinal (e.g., more/less, older/younger) or ratio (e.g, age, length) (see LeCompte and Schensul, 1999a: 115-119; Sokal and Rohlf 1981:10-

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Darwin and Archaeology: A Handbook of Key Concepts
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Table of Key Words xv
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 1
  • Chapter 2 - Adaptation 15
  • References 26
  • Chapter 3 - Biological Constraints 29
  • References 46
  • Chapter 4 - Cause 49
  • References 65
  • Chapter 5 - Classification 69
  • Chapter 6 - Complexity 89
  • Chapter 7 - Culture 107
  • References 123
  • Chapter 8 - Descent 125
  • Chapter 9 - History 143
  • Chapter 10 - Individuals 161
  • References 180
  • Chapter 11 - Learning 183
  • References 198
  • Chapter 12 - Models 201
  • Chapter 13 - Natural Selection 225
  • Chapter 14 - Population 243
  • About the Contributors 257
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