Morphological variation durante Homo erectus and the origins of developmental plasticity

Morphological variation durante Homo erectus and the origins of developmental plasticity

Morphological variation per Homo erectus and the origins of developmental plasticity

Homo erectus was the first hominin puro exhibit extensive range expansion. This extraordinary departure from Africa, especially into more temperate climates of Eurasia, has been variously related puro technological, energetic and foraging shifts. The temporal and regional anatomical variation mediante H. erectus suggests that per high level of developmental plasticity, verso key factor durante the ability of H. sapiens to occupy a variety of habitats, ental plasticity, the ability onesto modify development per response esatto environmental conditions, results per differences in size, shape and dimorphism across populations that relate mediante part esatto levels of resource sufficiency and extrinsic mortality. These differences predict not only regional variations but also overall smaller adult sizes and lower levels of dimorphism durante instances of resource scarcity and high predator load. We consider the metric variation con 35 human and non-human arcivescovo ‘populations’ from known environmental contexts and 14 time- and space-restricted paleodemes of H. erectus and other fossil Homo. Human and non-human primates exhibit more similar patterns of variation than expected, with plasticity evident, but per differing patterns by sex across populations. The fossil samples show less evidence of variation than expected, although H. erectus varies more than Neandertals.

1. Introduction

Homo erectus was the first hominin esatto exhibit extensive range expansion. Much like recent humans, this long-lived and widely dispersed species inhabited environments con equatorial Africa and more temperate Eurasia. As such, considerable sistema has been framed around understanding what made dispersal possible and what the broad geographic and temporal trends durante variation might mean biologically for H. erectus. Recently, the regional variation sopra H. erectus has been described as ‘human-like’ , and by extension we have suggested that the dispersal and evolutionary longevity of the species ental (phenotypic) plasticity [2,3].

Developmental (phenotypic) plasticity is the ability puro modify development in response puro environmental conditions, resulting per variation in adult anatomy that is not genetically canalized . Taxa with verso high degree of plasticity should be able to respond on short-term time scales onesto individual environmental or maternal environmental signals. Arguably this ability may also play an important role mediante moderating environmental influences too chronic for short-term accommodation and too short for genetic adaptation, as well as providing real advantages for occupying per broad range of environments . Verso high degree of developmental plasticity is considered an important aspect of the human ability preciso occupy multiple different environmental niches.

Related to this plasticity, differences in body size, shape and dimorphism across human populations durante part reflect levels of resource sufficiency and extrinsic mortality [5–8]. Onesto be sure, body size, shape and sexual dimorphism have multifactorial causes: there is verso genetic component preciso size and variation, and other environmental conditions such as temperature also influence the attainment of adult size. The latter is reasonably well understood, allowing consideration of other contributions esatto body size outcomes. Resource sufficiency includes any variable that influences the nutritional luogo, some of which are co-correlated with aspects of climate such as rainfall and seasonality. Extrinsic mortality can be defined generally as the external risks of mortality such as predator and parasite load, or con recent human environments, factors like homicide . The theory that links shifts sopra body size and age at first reproduction puro resource sufficiency and extrinsic mortality is relatively clear . Resource sufficiency is positively correlated with extrinsic mortality and negatively correlated with adult body size; that is, decreases con resources lead to slow growth rate and small adult size, whereas increases mediante mortality favour early maturation usually leading onesto small body size. Extrinsic mortality related onesto predator load may differ somewhat from this expectation mediante instances when larger body size is advantageous for predator control or survival . In these instances, early maturation but faster growth may favour the retention of large size, particularly in males. Per humans, males and females are often argued sicuro be differentially influenced especially by resource sufficiency, with human females being more strongly buffered from environmental vicissitudes and human males responding more dramatically esatto both resource excess and insufficiency. This difference is thought preciso be related onesto female buffering of infant brain size and puro be marked durante humans for this reason . Such differential influence can alter dimorphism values if the female size change differs from that of males . Extrapolating from living humans, this logic predicts that the skeletal supremazia of H. erectus should esibizione not only regional variations, but also overall smaller adult body sizes and lower levels of dimorphism in populations experiencing resource scarcity and high extrinsic mortality if the species shows human-like levels of plasticity .

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