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      Provisioning offspring and others: risk-energy trade-offs and gender differences in hunter-gatherer foraging strategies.

      1 , ,

      Proceedings. Biological sciences

      The Royal Society

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          Abstract

          Offspring provisioning is commonly referenced as the most important influence on men's and women's foraging decisions. However, the provisioning of other adults may be equally important in determining gender differences in resource choice, particularly when the goals of provisioning offspring versus others cannot be met with the acquisition of the same resources. Here, we examine how resources vary in their expected daily energetic returns and in the variance or risk around those returns. We predict that when available resources impose no trade-off between risk and energy, the targets of men's and women's foraging will converge on high-energy, low-risk resources that allow for the simultaneous provisioning of offspring and others. However, when minimizing risk and maximizing energy trade-off with one another, we expect men's foraging to focus on provisioning others through the unreliable acquisition of large harvests, while women focus on reliably acquiring smaller harvests to feed offspring. We test these predictions with foraging data from three populations (Aché, Martu and Meriam). The results uphold the predictions, suggesting that men's and women's foraging interests converge when high-energy resources can be reliably acquired, but diverge when higher-energy resources are associated with higher levels of risk. Social factors, particularly the availability of alloparental support, may also play a major role.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Proc. Biol. Sci.
          Proceedings. Biological sciences
          The Royal Society
          1471-2954
          0962-8452
          Aug 22 2011
          : 278
          : 1717
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Department of Anthropology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. bcodding@stanford.edu
          Article
          rspb.2010.2403
          10.1098/rspb.2010.2403
          3125624
          21227967

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