MONDINI Nora Mariana
congresos y reuniones científicas
Human interactions with prey and predators in arid South America.
Arica (Chile)
Congreso; 2nd Southern Deserts Conference "Human-Environment Interactions in Southern Hemisphere Deserts: Past, Present and Future".; 2005
Human populations are part of larger communities evolving in time, and the physical and biotic properties of a region impinge upon the relationships of humans to other animals, while the introduction of humans in these communities has in turn effects on them. In this presentation, a broad-scale analysis is made of the conditions under which interactions between human hunter-gatherers and their prey and other predators would have taken place in arid South America since the end of the Pleistocene. We focus on the Andean-Patagonian neotropical subregion, especially the Southern Cone. A high incidence of oceanity, the influence of the Andes in climate and biotic communities, and a relatively low diversity of large herbivores and carnivores –and in desertic areas, low population densities as well– are some of the properties characterising the arid Southern Cone. Human/animal interactions in South America, the last large landmass to be colonized by hunter-gatherers, are strongly influenced by the non-saturation of large mammal faunal communities and relatively low levels of competition in the Southern Cone, which must have affected the way human range expansion took place. Abiotic factors may have played more prominent a role than biotic ones in shaping this range. A relatively wider human diet breadth relative to available species richness would  have been possible, especially after the onset of Holocene conditions. Hunter-gatherers would have overlapped to some extent with the large to intermediate-sized South American carnivores, although most of them in! the Andean-Patagonian subregion are smaller and local carnivores are mostly solitary, so interspecific competition would not have ruled human/carnivore interactions. Also the high ratio of coastal ecotones per terrestrial areas would have promoted the consumption of aquatic resources, and the conditions were set for the intensification of human/camelid relationships.