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Background

Early human migration is largely determined by geography and human needs. These are both deterministic parameters when small populations move into unoccupied areas where conflicts and large group dynamics are not important. The early period of human migration into the British Isles provides such a laboratory which, because of its relative geographical isolation, may allow some insights into the complex dynamics of early human migration and interaction.

Method and Results

We developed a simulation code based on human affinity to habitable land, as defined by availability of water sources, altitude, and flatness of land, in choosing the path of migration. Movement of people on the British island over the prehistoric period from their initial entry points was simulated on the basis of data from the megalithic period. Topographical and hydro-shed data from satellite databases was used to define habitability, based on distance from water bodies, flatness of the terrain, and altitude above sea level. We simulated population movement based on assumptions of affinity for more habitable places, with the rate of movement tempered by existing populations. We compared results of our computer simulations with genetic data and show that our simulation can predict fairly accurately the points of contacts between different migratory paths. Such comparison also provides more detailed information about the path of peoples’ movement over ~2000 years before the present era.

Conclusions

We demonstrate an accurate method to simulate prehistoric movements of people based upon current topographical satellite data. Our findings are validated by recently-available genetic data. Our method may prove useful in determining early human population dynamics even when no genetic information is available.



Autor: Mayank N. Vahia , Uma Ladiwala, Pavan Mahathe, Deepak Mathur

Fuente: http://plos.srce.hr/



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