Humanity is highly adaptable based on evidence from regional culture histories, dominant climatic patterns, ecosystem availability, and subsistence practices. Astounding resourcefulness in solving short- and long-term challenges is routinely demonstrated by cultural groups pursuing variants of agro-pastoralism, hunting, fishing, gathering, and horticulture. Pursuing specific economic strategies often leads cultural groups to exhibit similar patterns of social organization and material culture. Observation of this trend has led anthropologists to note, and archaeologists to infer, that describing a population based on socio-economic structure allows readers to extrapolate broader patterns of behavioral and cultural patterns. The interpretive value of such analogies lies in the degree of similarity between the organisms or structures being compared; an assumption that may not be equally valid under all circumstances. In archaeological literature there is persistence of socio-economic categorizations (e.g., hunter-gatherers, pastoral nomads, and sedentary agriculturalists); perhaps due to explanatory efficiency but perhaps determined culturally according to the norms of Western culture.

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