Method for generating foodplant fitness landscapes: With a foodplant checklist for southern Africa and its application to Klasies River Main Site

Marlize Lombard, Andri van Aardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We present the most complete foodplant checklist for southern Africa to date, and summarise the geo-chronological origins of the South Africa and Lesotho biomes. Working from Binford's foraging radii, we introduce a 3-tier method for assessing and comparing foodplant fitness landscapes at different scales. To illustrate the method's potential, we analyse the Klasies River landscape starting with a ∼12.5 km foraging radius working from the Klasies River Main Site, comparing it with its ∼35 km foraging radius. Our comparison reveals an increase of 74.5% in foodplants moving from the smaller to the larger foraging range, with the highest increases in plant foods such as grains, geophytes and seeds. It is therefore reasonable to predict that the Klasies River foragers may have extended their range seasonally, or when needed, to harvest such preservable foods. On a meta scale (compared to foodplant use in current/recent southern Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, the world's economic foodplants and the commercialised food plants of the world), the general limitations, strengths and uniqueness of the Klasies River foodplant fitness landscape is highlighted. Lastly, based on the foodplant checklists for southern Africa and Klasies River, we raise questions about the obligatory cooking hypothesis for Homo.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105707
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Volume149
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

Keywords

  • Cooking hypothesis
  • Dietary ecology
  • Fitness landscapes
  • Foraging range
  • Plant foods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archeology (arts and humanities)
  • Archeology

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