Stanford researchers have proposed that the increase and diffusion of migration contributed to the early technological revolution that took place approximately 50,000 years ago between the Middle and Upper Paleolithic eras. The transformation caused art, tools and cultural relics to develop rapidly, but its origins have long been debated by scholars.
The study, published in the journal of physical and life sciences Royal Society Interface, challenges traditional assumptions about how and why the ancient revolution occurred. Current and former postdoctoral fellows Oren Kolodny and Nicole Creanza led the study under Marcus Feldman, the Burnet C. and Lidred Finley Wohlford professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences and the co-director of Stanford’s Center for Computational, Evolutionary and Human Genomics.
The researchers proposed that population growth, even in small increments, could have led to spikes of innovation during the Paleolithic era, which they describe as characterized by alternating cycles of slow transformation and rapid cultural development.