Home Range Size in Middle Pleistocene China and Human Dispersal Patterns in Eastern and Central Asia

By Keates, Susan G. | Asian Perspectives: the Journal of Archaeology for Asia and the Pacific, Fall 2004 | Go to article overview

Home Range Size in Middle Pleistocene China and Human Dispersal Patterns in Eastern and Central Asia


Keates, Susan G., Asian Perspectives: the Journal of Archaeology for Asia and the Pacific


THE ISSUE OF HOME RANGE SIZE IN THE MIDDLE PLEISTOCENE is a topic that needs to be addressed to study how hominids interacted with their environment at a local level. This is a particularly pertinent task in China where more fine-grained data are now becoming available. The home range is the area occupied during the life of an animal or human. Hominid home range size can be studied by using different sets of data, including distance of the lithic raw material sources to an archaeological locality. Hominids usually obtained their materials for stone tool manufacture from local sources within a 5-km radius, indicating a small home range size in the Middle Pleistocene. However, more substantial research needs to be carried out to determine if this is a realistic pattern. In the context of the regional scale, knowledge about home range size can further the study of settlement patterns. From about the second half of the Middle Pleistocene, there is evidence for hominid occupation of mountainous areas, which appears to indicate hominids increasing the size of their home range. Various ecological hypotheses, based on mammalian biogeography data, may help us gain more insight into the dispersal patterns of hominids in eastern and Central Asia. Associated with the frequency of human dispersal is the question of whether Chinese Homo erectus and Homo sapiens were geographically isolated for most of the Pleistocene, as suggested by some authors. Periodic faunal emigration and immigration would appear to argue against regional isolation, and the craniofacial morphology of some later Middle Pleistocene H. sapiens may reflect interregional genetic exchange.

One of the most influential concepts in human evolution is the idea that eastern Asia was geographically isolated for most of the Pleistocene. Teilhard de Chardin suggested that the region was effectively, "... closed to any major human migratory wave" (Teilhard de Chardin 1941:87-88). Similarly, other scholars view the mountains and deserts of China as significant barriers to dispersal--which could explain hominid morphological characteristics and behavior interpreted as reflective of human isolation (Aigner 1976, 1978:223-224; Zhang 1990; Zhou and Wang 1991:14). It has long been argued that the conservative and informal tool technology in this vast region is one of the indicators of isolation (e.g., van Heekeren and Knuth 1967:111; Movius 1949; Sieveking 1960:101). Specifically, the Chinese cultural record shows a remarkable continuity, especially the conservative record of generally informal tools (e.g., Aigner 1981; Wu and Olsen 1985; Pope and Keates 1994). Instances of biracial technology may reflect contact with non-Chinese populations at the beginning of the Middle Pleistocene (Hou et al. 2000), although this interpretation ignores the possibility that biracial technology may have developed independently.

HOME RANGE SIZE IN MIDDLE PLEISTOCENE CHINA

One of the critical issues in reconstructions of human behavioral evolution is the size of the hominid home range. The spatial distribution of hominids (and mammals in general) is influenced by a variety of agents such as access to water, food resources (e.g., Ford 1983) and avoidance of predators (e.g., Kie et al. 2002). In this paper, a smaller scale of hominid distribution, that is, home range size, will be explored.

The variable used to determine the home range size of Middle Pleistocene Chinese hominids (Homo erectus and Homo sapiens), is the distance of the source from which raw materials for tool manufacture were selected at individual sites. In Middle Pleistocene China, sources appear to have been usually confined to local outcrops, such as at the late Middle Pleistocene/early Late Pleistocene Xujiayao (Shanxi Province) and late Middle Pleistocene Dali (Shaanxi Province) sites, although the pattern of raw material acquisition is quite variable. At a few sites materials were exploited from greater distances (Keates 2001b, 2003a; Fig. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Home Range Size in Middle Pleistocene China and Human Dispersal Patterns in Eastern and Central Asia
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.