Answering some of the biggest questions in Centre for Early Sapiens Behaviour (SapienCE) - particularly those related to movement, interactions between groups of early humans, their relationship to the marine and terrestrial environment and how these factors influenced cultural development (both technological and symbolic) requires exceptional effort and a truly transdisciplinary approach. One way to tackle the integration and interpretation of data across multiple disciplines is by building up expertise within the centre on ecocultural niche and agent/individual-based modelling informed by, and combined with, archaeological, climatic and social- cognitive information. Ecocultural niche models (climate niche model = climate envelope model = species distribution model: often used synonymously) are a class of methods that use occurrence data in conjunction with environmental data to build a correlative model of the environmental conditions that meet a species' ecological requirements and predict the relative suitability of habitat. Agent/individual-based modelling, including geographic features, climate change, spatially and temporally varying vegetation, food resources, demography, competition, and cognition, offers an approach to explore the relationship between the emergence of modern human behaviour and environmental factors. Applying these tools within the SapienCE framework will require linking across the three main themes of the centre: archaeology, climate, and cognition.
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