Populations of early human settlers grew like an ‘invasive species,’ researchers find

April 7, 2016 • Daily Email Recap

Populations of early human settlers grew like an ‘invasive species,’ researchers find

See original/source content: http://phys.org/news/2016-04-populations-early-human-settlers-grew.html

Bustling cities, sprawling suburbs and blossoming agricultural regions might seem strong evidence that people have always dominated the environment. A Stanford study of South America’s colonization shows that human populations did not always grow unchecked, but were at one time limited by local resources – just like any other species.

In fact, the study, published by the journal Nature, finds that for much of human history on the continent, human populations grew like an invasive species, which are regulated by their environment as they spread into new places. Populations grew exponentially when people first colonized South America. But then they crashed, recovered slightly and plateaued for thousands of years after over-consuming local natural resources and reaching continental carrying capacity, according to the analysis.

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