A Model-Based Analysis of the Minimum Size of Demographically-Viable Hunter-Gatherer Populations.

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Abstract

A non-spatial agent-based model is used to explore how marriage behaviors and fertility affect the minimum population size required for hunter-gatherer systems to be demographically viable. The model incorporates representations of person- and household-level constraints and behaviors affecting marriage, reproduction, and mortality. Results suggest that, under a variety of circumstances, a stable population size of about 150 persons is demographically viable in the sense that it is largely immune from extinction through normal stochastic perturbations in mortality, fertility, and sex ratio. Less restrictive marriage rules enhance the viability of small populations by making it possible to capitalize on a greater proportion of the finite female reproductive span and compensate for random fluctuations in the balance of males and females.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalJASSS
Volume20
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 31 2017

Keywords

  • Demographic viability
  • Demography
  • Fertility
  • Hunter-gatherer
  • Mortality
  • Polygyny

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)

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