Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Ecological Anthropology

Narrowly, the study of environmental effects on humans and human populations, and vice versa. Each of the subfields of anthropology has its version of ecology, but most acknowledge the sense elaborated by Julian Steward. Broadly, that population mechanisms develop for coping with stressors (especially crises) that originate in the environment, and manifest as enabling or limiting cultural responses to variations in carrying capacity. In humans, warfare and religion seem to be two of the more important modalities described in the coping repertoire. Historical or subfield variants include cultural ecology, paleoecology, primate ecology, physiological anthropology, behavioral ecology, and ethnoecology (linguistics).

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