Publications by authors named "Melinda A Zeder"

16 Publications

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Herded and hunted goat genomes from the dawn of domestication in the Zagros Mountains.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2021 Jun;118(25)

Smurfit Institute of Genetics, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland;

The Aceramic Neolithic (∼9600 to 7000 cal BC) period in the Zagros Mountains, western Iran, provides some of the earliest archaeological evidence of goat () management and husbandry by circa 8200 cal BC, with detectable morphological change appearing ∼1,000 y later. To examine the genomic imprint of initial management and its implications for the goat domestication process, we analyzed 14 novel nuclear genomes (mean coverage 1.13X) and 32 mitochondrial (mtDNA) genomes (mean coverage 143X) from two such sites, Ganj Dareh and Tepe Abdul Hosein. These genomes show two distinct clusters: those with domestic affinity and a minority group with stronger wild affinity, indicating that managed goats were genetically distinct from wild goats at this early horizon. This genetic duality, the presence of long runs of homozygosity, shared ancestry with later Neolithic populations, a sex bias in archaeozoological remains, and demographic profiles from across all layers of Ganj Dareh support management of genetically domestic goat by circa 8200 cal BC, and represent the oldest to-this-date reported livestock genomes. In these sites a combination of high autosomal and mtDNA diversity, contrasting limited Y chromosomal lineage diversity, an absence of reported selection signatures for pigmentation, and the wild morphology of bone remains illustrates domestication as an extended process lacking a strong initial bottleneck, beginning with spatial control, demographic manipulation via biased male culling, captive breeding, and subsequently phenotypic and genomic selection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2100901118DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8237664PMC
June 2021

Straw Foxes: Domestication Syndrome Evaluation Comes Up Short.

Authors:
Melinda A Zeder

Trends Ecol Evol 2020 08 23;35(8):647-649. Epub 2020 Mar 23.

Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, USA. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2020.03.001DOI Listing
August 2020

Did maize dispersal precede domestication?

Authors:
Melinda A Zeder

Science 2018 12;362(6420):1246-1247

Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aav7358DOI Listing
December 2018

Why evolutionary biology needs anthropology: Evaluating core assumptions of the extended evolutionary synthesis.

Authors:
Melinda A Zeder

Evol Anthropol 2018 Nov 16;27(6):267-284. Epub 2018 Nov 16.

Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, District of Columbia.

Anthropologists have a long history of applying concepts from evolutionary biology to cultural evolution. Evolutionary biologists, however, have been slow to turn to anthropology for insights about evolution. Recently, evolutionary biology has been engaged in a debate over the need to revise evolutionary theory to account for developments made in 60 years since the Modern Synthesis, the standard evolutionary paradigm, was framed. Revision proponents maintain these developments challenge central tenets of standard theory that can only be accounted for in an extended evolutionary synthesis (EES). Anthropology has much to offer to this debate. One important transition in human cultural evolution, the domestication of plants and animals, provides an ideal model system assessing core EES assumptions about directionality, causality, targets of selection, modes of inheritance, and pace of evolution. In so doing, anthropologists contribute to an overarching framework that brings together cultural and biological evolution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/evan.21747DOI Listing
November 2018

Domestication as a model system for the extended evolutionary synthesis.

Authors:
Melinda A Zeder

Interface Focus 2017 Oct 18;7(5):20160133. Epub 2017 Aug 18.

Program in Human Ecology and Archaeobiology, Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, 10th and Constitution, Washington, DC 20560, USA.

One of the challenges in evaluating arguments for extending the conceptual framework of evolutionary biology involves the identification of a tractable model system that allows for an assessment of the core assumptions of the extended evolutionary synthesis (EES). The domestication of plants and animals by humans provides one such case study opportunity. Here, I consider domestication as a model system for exploring major tenets of the EES. First I discuss the novel insights that niche construction theory (NCT, one of the pillars of the EES) provides into the domestication processes, particularly as they relate to five key areas: coevolution, evolvability, ecological inheritance, cooperation and the pace of evolutionary change. This discussion is next used to frame testable predictions about initial domestication of plants and animals that contrast with those grounded in standard evolutionary theory, demonstrating how these predictions might be tested in multiple regions where initial domestication took place. I then turn to a broader consideration of how domestication provides a model case study consideration of the different ways in which the core assumptions of the EES strengthen and expand our understanding of evolution, including reciprocal causation, developmental processes as drivers of evolutionary change, inclusive inheritance, and the tempo and rate of evolutionary change.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsfs.2016.0133DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5566803PMC
October 2017

Reply to Westaway and Lyman: Emus, dingoes, and archaeology's role in conservation biology.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2016 08 26;113(33):E4759-60. Epub 2016 Jul 26.

Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena D-07743, Germany;

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1610697113DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4995951PMC
August 2016

Reply to Ellis et al.: Human niche construction and evolutionary theory.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2016 08 15;113(31):E4437-8. Epub 2016 Jul 15.

School of Archaeology, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 2PG, United Kingdom;

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1609617113DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4978256PMC
August 2016

Ecological consequences of human niche construction: Examining long-term anthropogenic shaping of global species distributions.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2016 Jun;113(23):6388-96

School of Archaeology, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 2PG, United Kingdom;

The exhibition of increasingly intensive and complex niche construction behaviors through time is a key feature of human evolution, culminating in the advanced capacity for ecosystem engineering exhibited by Homo sapiens A crucial outcome of such behaviors has been the dramatic reshaping of the global biosphere, a transformation whose early origins are increasingly apparent from cumulative archaeological and paleoecological datasets. Such data suggest that, by the Late Pleistocene, humans had begun to engage in activities that have led to alterations in the distributions of a vast array of species across most, if not all, taxonomic groups. Changes to biodiversity have included extinctions, extirpations, and shifts in species composition, diversity, and community structure. We outline key examples of these changes, highlighting findings from the study of new datasets, like ancient DNA (aDNA), stable isotopes, and microfossils, as well as the application of new statistical and computational methods to datasets that have accumulated significantly in recent decades. We focus on four major phases that witnessed broad anthropogenic alterations to biodiversity-the Late Pleistocene global human expansion, the Neolithic spread of agriculture, the era of island colonization, and the emergence of early urbanized societies and commercial networks. Archaeological evidence documents millennia of anthropogenic transformations that have created novel ecosystems around the world. This record has implications for ecological and evolutionary research, conservation strategies, and the maintenance of ecosystem services, pointing to a significant need for broader cross-disciplinary engagement between archaeology and the biological and environmental sciences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1525200113DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4988612PMC
June 2016

Reply to Mohlenhoff et al.: Human behavioral ecology needs a rethink that niche-construction theory can provide.

Authors:
Melinda A Zeder

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2015 Jun 1;112(24):E3094. Epub 2015 Jun 1.

Program in Human Ecology and Archaeobiology, Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1508096112DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4475982PMC
June 2015

Impacts of biological globalization in the Mediterranean: unveiling the deep history of human-mediated gamebird dispersal.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2015 Mar 2;112(11):3296-301. Epub 2015 Mar 2.

Department of Biology, Zoology and Anthropology Unit, University of Pisa, 56126 Pisa, Italy;

Humans have a long history of moving wildlife that over time has resulted in unprecedented biotic homogenization. It is, as a result, often unclear whether certain taxa are native to a region or naturalized, and how the history of human involvement in species dispersal has shaped present-day biodiversity. Although currently an eastern Palaearctic galliform, the black francolin (Francolinus francolinus) was known to occur in the western Mediterranean from at least the time of Pliny the Elder, if not earlier. During Medieval times and the Renaissance, the black francolin was a courtly gamebird prized not only for its flavor, but also its curative, and even aphrodisiac qualities. There is uncertainty, however, whether this important gamebird was native or introduced to the region and, if the latter, what the source of introduction into the western Mediterranean was. Here we combine historical documentation with a DNA investigation of modern birds and archival (13th-20th century) specimens from across the species' current and historically documented range. Our study proves the black francolin was nonnative to the western Mediterranean, and we document its introduction from the east via several trade routes, some reaching as far as South Asia. This finding provides insight into the reach and scope of long-distance trade routes that serviced the demand of European aristocracy for exotic species as symbols of wealth and prestige, and helps to demonstrate the lasting impact of human-mediated long-distance species dispersal on current day biodiversity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1500677112DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4371972PMC
March 2015

Core questions in domestication research.

Authors:
Melinda A Zeder

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2015 Mar 20;112(11):3191-8. Epub 2015 Feb 20.

Program in Human Ecology and Archaeobiology, Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560

The domestication of plants and animals is a key transition in human history, and its profound and continuing impacts are the focus of a broad range of transdisciplinary research spanning the physical, biological, and social sciences. Three central aspects of domestication that cut across and unify this diverse array of research perspectives are addressed here. Domestication is defined as a distinctive coevolutionary, mutualistic relationship between domesticator and domesticate and distinguished from related but ultimately different processes of resource management and agriculture. The relative utility of genetic, phenotypic, plastic, and contextual markers of evolving domesticatory relationships is discussed. Causal factors are considered, and two leading explanatory frameworks for initial domestication of plants and animals, one grounded in optimal foraging theory and the other in niche-construction theory, are compared.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1501711112DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4371924PMC
March 2015

Alternative to faith-based science.

Authors:
Melinda A Zeder

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2014 Jul 19;111(28):E2827. Epub 2014 Jun 19.

Program in Human Ecology and Archaeobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20013

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1408209111DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4104849PMC
July 2014

Domestication and early agriculture in the Mediterranean Basin: Origins, diffusion, and impact.

Authors:
Melinda A Zeder

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2008 Aug 12;105(33):11597-604. Epub 2008 Aug 12.

Archaeobiology Program, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20013, USA.

The past decade has witnessed a quantum leap in our understanding of the origins, diffusion, and impact of early agriculture in the Mediterranean Basin. In large measure these advances are attributable to new methods for documenting domestication in plants and animals. The initial steps toward plant and animal domestication in the Eastern Mediterranean can now be pushed back to the 12th millennium cal B.P. Evidence for herd management and crop cultivation appears at least 1,000 years earlier than the morphological changes traditionally used to document domestication. Different species seem to have been domesticated in different parts of the Fertile Crescent, with genetic analyses detecting multiple domestic lineages for each species. Recent evidence suggests that the expansion of domesticates and agricultural economies across the Mediterranean was accomplished by several waves of seafaring colonists who established coastal farming enclaves around the Mediterranean Basin. This process also involved the adoption of domesticates and domestic technologies by indigenous populations and the local domestication of some endemic species. Human environmental impacts are seen in the complete replacement of endemic island faunas by imported mainland fauna and in today's anthropogenic, but threatened, Mediterranean landscapes where sustainable agricultural practices have helped maintain high biodiversity since the Neolithic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0801317105DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2575338PMC
August 2008

Shanidar 10: a Middle Paleolithic immature distal lower limb from Shanidar Cave, Iraqi Kurdistan.

J Hum Evol 2007 Aug 14;53(2):213-23. Epub 2007 Jun 14.

Department of Anthropology, Campus Box 1114, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA.

The analysis of the faunal remains from Shanidar Cave has identified an incomplete immature human distal leg and foot from the deepest levels of the Middle Paleolithic of Shanidar Cave, Iraq. The distal tibia, fibula, first metatarsal, and two tarsals, designated Shanidar 10, derive from a 1-2-year-old infant. The tibia exhibits a transverse line from a stress episode during the last quarter of its first year postnatal. The cross-sectional geometry of the tibial midshaft reveals modest cortical thickening and a level of diaphyseal robusticity similar to those of recent human infants of a similar developmental age.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2007.04.003DOI Listing
August 2007

Documenting domestication: the intersection of genetics and archaeology.

Trends Genet 2006 Mar 3;22(3):139-55. Epub 2006 Feb 3.

Archaeobiology Program, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560-0112, USA.

Domestication, a process of increasing mutual dependence between human societies and the plant and animal populations they target, has long been an area of interest in genetics and archaeology. Geneticists seek out markers of domestication in the genomes of domesticated species, both past and present day. Archaeologists examine the archaeological record for complementary markers--evidence of the human behavior patterns that cause the genetic changes associated with domestication, and the morphological changes in target species that result from them. In this article, we summarize the recent advances in genetics and archaeology in documenting plant and animal domestication, and highlight several promising areas where the complementary perspectives of both disciplines provide reciprocal illumination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tig.2006.01.007DOI Listing
March 2006
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