Friday, May 18, 2007

Culture and wave of advance   posted by Razib @ 5/18/2007 03:46:00 PM

Cultural hitchhiking on the wave of advance of beneficial technologies:
...Decoupling of the advantageous trait from other "hitchhiking" traits depends on its adoption by the preexisting population. Here, we adopt a similar wave-of-advance model based on food production on a heterogeneous landscape with multiple populations. Two key results arise from geographic inhomogeneity: the "subsistence boundary," land so poor that the wave of advance is halted, and the temporary "diffusion boundary" where the wave cannot move into poorer areas until its gradient becomes sufficiently large. At diffusion boundaries, farming technology may pass to indigenous people already in those poorer lands, allowing their population to grow and resist encroachment by farmers. Ultimately, this adoption of technology leads to the halt in spread of the hitchhiking trait and establishment of a permanent "cultural boundary" between distinct cultures with equivalent technology.

Application? Trace the spread of agriculture in Europe and haplogroup J2, and map it onto "diffusion boundaries."