, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 365-376

Mate preferences among Hadza hunter-gatherers

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Abstract

The literature on human mate preferences is vast but most data come from studies on college students in complex societies, who represent a thin slice of cultural variation in an evolutionarily novel environment. Here, I present data on the mate preferences of men and women in a society of hunter-gatherers, the Hadza of Tanzania. Hadza men value fertility in a mate more than women do, and women value intelligence more than men do. Women place great importance on men’s foraging, and both sexes rate character as important. Unlike college students, Hadza men place considerable importance on women being hard-working, and Hadza women cite looks about as often as men do.

This research was made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation and the Leakey Foundation.
Frank Marlowe (B.A., M.A., M.F.A., Ph.D.) is associate professor in the Department of Anthropology, Harvard University. His research interests include the behavioral ecology of hunter-gatherers, mating systems, parental care, mate choice, and cooperation.