Territory size in Canis lupus: Implications for Neandertal mobility


Book Section

© 2014 Springer Science+Business Media New York. All rights are reserved. Inferences about Neandertal home range sizes have historically been reconstructed with reference to lithic raw material transport distances. Here we use data on northern latitude social carnivores to predict home range sizes for Neandertal groups. Given that Neandertals must have relied heavily on animal protein and fat in the plant food-poor environments of Pleistocene Europe, their home range sizes and levels of logistical mobility were likely largely determined by prey abundance and distribution. We use the gray wolf (Canis lupus) to develop a model that relates climatic variables and predator group aggregate mass to home range size. Pack size data were combined with average wolf mass values to produce mass-specific territory sizes (in km2 kg-1 ), which in turn allowed for the prediction of home range areas for Neandertal groups of varying sizes. Results indicate that even at fairly small social group sizes (less than 33 individuals) Neandertals likely required and maintained large territories (≈1,400-5,400 km2 ), which is consistent with results of studies of lithic raw material procurement patterns. The concordance between these two types of estimates lends support to the idea that lithic raw material procurement was embedded in subsistence mobility in the European Mousterian.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Walker, CS; Churchill, SE

Published Date

  • April 1, 2014

Book Title

  • Reconstructing Mobility: Environmental, Behavioral, and Morphological Determinants

Start / End Page

  • 209 - 226

International Standard Book Number 10 (ISBN-10)

  • 1489974598

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9781489974594

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/978-1-4899-7460-0-12

Citation Source

  • Scopus