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Humans preserve non-human primate pattern of climatic adaptation

Buck, LT, De Groote, I, Hamada, Y and Stock, JT (2018) Humans preserve non-human primate pattern of climatic adaptation. Quaternary Science Reviews, 192. pp. 149-166. ISSN 0277-3791

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Open Access URL: https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2018.05.032 (Published version)


There is evidence for early Pleistocene Homo in northern Europe, a novel hominin habitat. Adaptations enabling this colonisation are intriguing given suggestions that Homo exhibits physiological and behavioural malleability associated with a ‘colonising niche’. Differences in body size/shape between conspecifics from different climates are well-known in mammals, could relatively flexible size/shape have been important to Homo adapting to cold habitats? If so, at what point did this evolutionary stragegy arise? To address these questions a base-line for adaptation to climate must be established by comparison with outgroups. We compare skeletons of Japanese macaques from four latitudes and find inter-group differences in postcranial and cranial size and shape. Very small body mass and cranial size in the Southern-most (island) population are most likely affected by insularity as well as ecogeographic scaling. Limb lengths and body breadths show group differences that accord with the expectations of thermoregulation across the whole range of latitudes. Postcranial size appears to vary more than shape, yet there is also evidence that limb segments follow Allen's rule in the forelimb at least, suggesting differing climatic signals in different regions of the skeleton. In contrast to other intraspecific studies of catarrhine ecogeography, the results presented here demonstrate non-allometric latitudinal patterns in craniofacial shape in Japanese macaques, which align closely with what is seen in cold-adapted humans. These insights begin to provide a comparison for hominin adaptation to similar habitat diversity and the role of biological adaptation in shaping the evolution and dispersal of Homo species.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 04 Earth Sciences, 21 History and Archaeology
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
Divisions: Natural Sciences & Psychology (closed 31 Aug 19)
Publisher: Elsevier
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2019 09:57
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2021 23:42
DOI or ID number: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2018.05.032
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/10332
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