During Western Europe’s Last Glacial Maximum, a new model suggests high human population growth rates may have led to continuous out-migration and genetic homogeneity

A new model explores the impact of environmental constraints and habitat suitability on the size, distribution and structure of Paleolithic human populations living in Western Europe during the Last Glacial Maximum (19–23 thousand years BP).

The model shows that during the Last Glacial Maximum, Western Europe contained six core areas with a high frequency of occupation, composed of clusters of highly suitable habitat (see figure).

Although gene flow occurs between all of the regions, the Central region dominates the genetic profiles of the regional populations, and the high rate of births compared to deaths in the Central region results in out-migration to the other regions that sustains those populations in a source–sink dynamic (although in several experiments, especially at low mobility levels, Italy retains a distinct genetic signature due to its relative geographic isolation).

Contact: Colin Wren, cwren@uccs.edu, Ph.: (719) 290-8026

Press-only Preview: https://plos.io/2XrZZKU

Article URL: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0217996


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