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The habitations of the Natufian are semi-subterranean, often with a dry-stone foundation. No traces of mudbrick have been found, which became common in the following Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA).

Despite the present hyper-aridity, archaeological investigations in South-east Arabia have demonstrated that the region supported extensive human communities throughout the Neolithic and Bronze Age.

These early populations utilised the region’s natural environment in a variety of ways, ranging from the exploitation of coastal resources to practicing pastoral and agrarian lifestyles in the interior.

► Arid phases caused herder-gatherer populations to move to environmental refugia.

► A return to pluvial conditions coincides with the development of oasis agriculture.

More generally there has been discussion of the similarities of these cultures with those found in coastal North Africa.

Graeme Barker notes there are: "similarities in the respective archaeological records of the Natufian culture of the Levant and of contemporary foragers in coastal North Africa across the late Pleistocene and early Holocene boundary".

Ofer Bar-Yosef has argued that there are signs of influences coming from North Africa to the Levant, citing the microburin technique and "microlithic forms such as arched backed bladelets and La Mouillah points." But recent research has shown that the presence of arched backed bladelets, La Mouillah points, and the use of the microburin technique was already apparent in the Nebekian industry of the Eastern Levant. state that, "Many technological nuances that have often been always highlighted as significant during the Natufian were already present during the Early and Middle EP [Epipalaeolithic] and do not, in most cases, represent a radical departure in knowledge, tradition, or behavior." Authors such as Christopher Ehret have built upon the little evidence available to develop scenarios of intensive usage of plants having built up first in North Africa, as a precursor to the development of true farming in the Fertile Crescent, but such suggestions are considered highly speculative until more North African archaeological evidence can be gathered. Loring Brace (1993) cross-analysed the craniometric traits of Natufian specimens with those of various ancient and modern groups from the Near East, Africa and Europe.

The Late Pleistocene Epipalaeolithic Natufian sample was described as problematic due to its small size (consisting of only three males and one female), as well as the lack of a comparative sample from the Natufians' putative descendants in the Neolithic Near East.

(2016) found that the specimens instead were a mix of 50% Basal Eurasian ancestral component (see genetics) and 50% Western Eurasian Unknown Hunter Gatherer (UHG) population related to European Western Hunter Gatherers.

According to Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen, "It seems that certain preadaptive traits, developed already by the Kebaran and Geometric Kebaran populations within the Mediterranean park forest, played an important role in the emergence of the new socioeconomic system known as the Natufian culture." Settlements occur in the woodland belt where oak and Pistacia species dominated.

Most notable is the change which occurred following the onset of climatic aridity at 5900 cal yr BP, when the region’s semi-nomadic, herder-gatherer populations abandoned much of the landscape and concentrated in selected environmental refugia, such as along the northern Omani coast.