An evolutionary model explaining the Neolithic transition from egalitarianism to leadership and despotism.

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Etat: Public
Version: de l'auteur
ID Serval
serval:BIB_237B33EEBAC6
Type
Article: article d'un périodique ou d'un magazine.
Collection
Publications
Institution
Titre
An evolutionary model explaining the Neolithic transition from egalitarianism to leadership and despotism.
Périodique
Proceedings of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences
Auteur(s)
Powers S.T., Lehmann L.
ISSN
1471-2954 (ISSNElectronic)
ISSN-L
0962-8452
Statut éditorial
Publié
Date de publication
2014
Volume
281
Numéro
1791
Pages
20141349
Langue
anglais
Résumé
The Neolithic was marked by a transition from small and relatively egalitarian groups to much larger groups with increased stratification. But, the dynamics of this remain poorly understood. It is hard to see how despotism can arise without coercion, yet coercion could not easily have occurred in an egalitarian setting. Using a quantitative model of evolution in a patch-structured population, we demonstrate that the interaction between demographic and ecological factors can overcome this conundrum. We model the coevolution of individual preferences for hierarchy alongside the degree of despotism of leaders, and the dispersal preferences of followers. We show that voluntary leadership without coercion can evolve in small groups, when leaders help to solve coordination problems related to resource production. An example is coordinating construction of an irrigation system. Our model predicts that the transition to larger despotic groups will then occur when: (i) surplus resources lead to demographic expansion of groups, removing the viability of an acephalous niche in the same area and so locking individuals into hierarchy; (ii) high dispersal costs limit followers' ability to escape a despot. Empirical evidence suggests that these conditions were probably met, for the first time, during the subsistence intensification of the Neolithic.
Mots-clé
Neolithic, despotism, dispersal, egalitarian, hierarchy, leadership
Pubmed
Web of science
Open Access
Oui
Création de la notice
06/11/2017 11:39
Dernière modification de la notice
20/08/2019 14:01
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