Pattern matching of age‐at‐death distributions in paleodemographic analysis

George R. Milner, Dorothy A. Humpf, Henry C. Harpending

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

63 Scopus citations

Abstract

Model age‐at‐death distributions are generated from fertility and mortality rates derived from two present‐day, traditional human societies with widely differing cultural systems: the !Kung hunters‐and‐gatherers and Yanomamo horticulturalists. Visual examination of these models demonstrates that fertility has more of an effect than mortality on the overall configuration of the age‐at‐death distributions of stable populations. Comparisons with a late prehistoric Oneota skeletal sample from the American Midwest illustrate how reference age‐at‐death schedules can be used 1) to identify whether a given skeletal sample approximates an age‐at‐death distribution expected of an extant human population and 2) to provide a basis for developing further testable hypotheses about the demographic and cultural characteristics of past populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-58
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Volume80
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anatomy
  • Anthropology

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