Three professors with the University of Wyoming recently released a paper exploring the history of our nearby Bighorn Basin. According to their research, human populations in the basin have experienced significant increases during the past 13,000 years.
Their research suggests this growth has been due primarily to periods of high moisture and moderate temperatures. By contrast, when water levels were lower and temperatures higher, the state’s populations of hunter-gatherers decreased - or may have even disappeared altogether.
The research, presented in a paper titled “A Continuous Climatic Impact on Holocene Human Population in the Rocky Mountains,” was published on December 24 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Director of UW’s Institute of Archaeology & Anthropology, Robert Kelly, and lead author of the paper, Bryan Shuman, and UW associate professor of anthropology, Todd Surovell, collaborated on the study. Geoff Smith, a former UW graduate student and now a professor at the University of Nevada, also was a co-author.
To read their paper, visit http://www.pnas.org/content/earl....