Interesting article on the arrival of cultural complexity

Science has an interesting article on the development of cultural complexity in pre-historic communities. The study focuses on the role of demography in allowing for cultural complexity and comes to the rather unsurprising conclusion that increased population density also increases the levels of cultural complexity by making it harder for skills to be lost. There may also be feedback relations, as increased complexity may make higher populations possible, thus making the achievement of more complexity possible and so on. The findings help to explain a few problems in the scientific account of cultural complexity namely 1) if cultural complexity is linked to biology, why was there a gap of 100,000 years between the development of the anatomically modern human being and the development of cultural modernity. 2) Why did cultural modernity appear and disappear several times (they link it to changes in population changes).Although they used a model of cultural transmission to explain things, I would have thought that the real need for cultural complexity to deal with a  large population would also be a significant factor; i.e. need for forms of communication, ways of dealing with more complicated social organisation etc etc. Anyway, what would I know...

The report is:

Late Pleistocene Demography and the Appearance of Modern Human BehaviorAdam Powell, Stephen Shennan, Mark G. Thomas