Trade-Offs between female food acquisition and child care among hiwi and ache foragers
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
Even though female food acquisition is an area of considerable interest in hunter-gatherer research, the ecological determinants of women’s economic decisions in these populations are still poorly understood. The literature on female foraging behavior indicates that there is considerable variation within and across foraging societies in the amount of time that women spend foraging and in the amount and types of food that they acquire. It is possible that this heterogeneity reflects variation in the trade-offs between time spent in food acquisition and child care activities that women face in different groups of hunter-gatherers. In this paper we discuss the fitness trade-offs between food acquisition and child care that Hiwi and Ache women foragers might face. Multiple regression analyses show that in both populations the daily food acquisition of a woman’s spouse is negatively related to female foraging effort. In addition, nursing mothers spend less time foraging and acquire less food than do nonnursing women. As the number of dependents that a woman has increases, however, women also increase foraging time and the amount of food they acquire. Some interesting exceptions to these general trends are as follows: (a) differences in foraging effort between nursing and nonnursing women are less pronounced when fruits and roots are in season than in other seasons of the year; (b) foraging return rates decrease for Ache women as their numbers of dependents increase; and (c) among Ache women, the positive effect of number of dependents on foraging behavior is less pronounced when fruits are in season than at other times of the year. Lastly, in the Hiwi sample we found that postreproductive women work considerably harder than women of reproductive age in the root season but not in other seasons of the year. We discuss how ecological variation in constraints, the number of health insults to children that Hiwi and Ache mothers can avoid, and the fitness benefits they can gain from spending time in food acquisition and child care might account for differences and similarities in the foraging behaviors of subgroups of Hiwi and Ache mothers across different seasons of the year. Valid tests of the explanations we propose will require considerable effort to measure the relationship between maternal food acquisition, child care, and adverse health outcomes in offspring.
This paper is dedicated to Nutsiya, the hardest-working grandmother we ever observed
Kristen Hawkes contributed useful information on female foraging among the Hadza. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation (BNS-8613215, BNS-538228, BNS-8309834, BNS-8121209) and the L. S. B. Leakey Foundation. The senior author was supported by fellowships from the Fundacion Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho of Venezuela and the National Institute of Health (Grant No. 1 RO1 HD16221-01A2).
A. Magdalena Hurtado, Kim Hill, and Hillard Kaplan collaborate in research on the evolutionary ecology of the division of labor by sex. Ines Hurtado is Senior Research Scientist at the Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas, Venezuela. She studies the immunology of parasite load and atopic illness in Hiwi foragers.
Altmann, J. 1980Baboon Mothers and Infants. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
Bentley, G. 1985 Hunter-gatherer Energetics and Fertility: A Reassessment of the !Kung San.Human Ecology 13:79–109.CrossRef
Blurton-Jones, N. G. 1992 The Lives of Hunter-Gatherer Children: Effects of Parental Behavior and Parental Reproductive Strategy. InPrimate Juveniles, J. Pereira and E. Fairbanks, eds. Oxford: Oxford University Press, in preparation.
Blurton-Jones, N. G., and R. Sibly 1978 Testing Adaptiveness of Culturally Determined Behavior: Do Bushmen Women Maximize Their Reproductive Success by Spacing Births Widely and Foraging Seldom? InHuman Behavior and Adaptation, N. G. Blurton-Jones and V. Reynolds, eds. Pp. 135–158. Society for the Study of Human Biology Symposia 18. London: Taylor and Francis.
Blurton-Jones, N. G., K. Hawkes, and J. F. O’Connell 1987 Studying Costs of Children in Two Foraging Societies: Implications for Schedules of Reproduction. InComparative Socioecology of Mammals and Man, R. Foley and V. Standen, eds. Pp. 367–390. London: Basil Blackwell.
Brown, J. 1970 A Note on the Sexual Division of Labor.American Anthropologist 72:1073–1078.CrossRef
Burton, M. L., and D. R. White 1984 Sexual Division of Labor in Agriculture.American Anthropologist 86:568–583.CrossRef
Burton, M. L., L. A. Brudner, and D. R. White 1977 A Model of the Sexual Division of Labor.American Ethnologist 4:227–251.CrossRef
Clutton-Brock, T. H. 1991The Evolution of Parental Care. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
Curio, E. 1988 Relative Realized Lifespan and Delayed Cost of Parental Care.American Naturalist 131:825–836.CrossRef
Ellison, P., N. Peacock, and K. Lager 1986 Salivary Progesterone and Luteal Function in Two Low-fertility Populations of Northeast Zaire.Human Biology 58:473–486.
Ember, C. 1978 Myths about Hunter-gatherers.Ethnology 18:439–448.CrossRef
1981 A Cross-Cultural Perspective on Sex Differences. InHandbook of Cross-Cultural Research, R. H. Munroe and B. B. Whiting, eds. Pp. 531–579. New York: Academic Press.
Goodman, M. J., A. Estioko-Griffin, P. B. Estioko-Griffin, and J. S. Grove 1985 Menarche, Pregnancy, Birth-spacing and Menopause among the Agta Woman Foragers of Cagayan Province, Luzon, The Philippines.Annals of Human Biology 12:169–178.CrossRef
Hames, R. 1992 The Allocation of Time. InEvolutionary Ecology and Human Behavior, E. Smith and B. Winterhalder, eds. Pp. 203–235. Hawthorne, New York: Aldine de Gruyter.
Harpending, H., and P. Draper 1986 Selection against Human Family Organization InOn Evolutionary Anthropology: Essays in Honor of Harry Hoijer, 1983, B. J. Williams, ed. Undena: UCLA.
Harrison, M. J. S. 1983 Age and Sex Differences in the Diet and Feeding Strategies of the Green Monkey,Cercopithecus sabaeus.Animal Behavior 31:969–977.CrossRef
Hawkes, K., J. F. O’Connell, and N. G. Blurton-Jones 1987 Hadza Foraging Time. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Chicago.
1989 Hardworking Hadza Grandmothers.Comparative Socioecology: The Behavioural Ecology of Humans and Other Mammals, V. Standen and R. A. Foley, eds. Pp. 391–420. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific.
Hawkes, K., J. O’Connell, K. Hill, and E. Charnov 1985 How Much Is Enough? Hunters and Limited Needs.Ethology and Sociobiology 6:3–15.CrossRef
Hill, K. 1988 Macronutrient Modifications of Optimal Foraging Theory: An Approach using Indifference Curves Applied to Some Modern Foragers.Human Ecology 16:157–197.CrossRef
Hill, K., and A. M. Hurtado 1989 Hunter-Gatherers of the New World.American Scientist 77(5):436–443.
1991 The Evolution of Premature Reproductive Senescence and Menopause in Human Females: An Evaluation of the “Grandmother Hypothesis.”Human Nature 2:313–350.
1992Demography/Life History of Ache Foragers. Hawthorne, New York: Aldine de Gruyter, in preparation.
Hill, K. and H. Kaplan 1988 Tradeoffs between Male and Female Reproductive Strategies among the Ache. In L. Betzig, P. Turke, and M. Borgerhoff Mulder, eds. Pp. 291–306.Human Reproductive Behavior, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hill, K., K. Hawkes, A. M. Hurtado, and H. Kaplan 1984 Seasonal Variance in the Diet of Ache Hunter-Gatherers of Eastern Paraguay.Human Ecology 12:145–180.CrossRef
Hurtado, A. M. 1985Women’s Subsistence Strategies among Ache Hunter-Gatherers of Eastern Paraguay. Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Anthropology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City.
Hurtado, A. M., and K. Hill 1986 Early Dry Season Subsistence Ecology of the Cuiva (Hiwi) Foragers of Venezuela.Human Ecology 15:163–187.CrossRef
1989 Experimental Studies of Tool Efficiency among Machiguenga Women and Implications for Root Digging Foragers.Journal of Anthropological Research 40:131–139.
1990 Seasonality in a Foraging Society: Variation in Diet, Work Effort, Fertility and Sexual Division of Labor among the Hiwi of Venezuela.Journal of Anthropological Research 46:293–345.
1991 Paternal Effects on Offspring Survivorship among Ache and Hiwi Hunter-Gatherers: Implications for Modeling Pair-Bond Stability. InFather-Child Relations: Cultural and Biosocial Contexts, B. Hewlett, ed. pp. 31–76. Hawthorne, New York: Aldine de Gruyter, in press.
Hurtado, A. M., K. Hill, and S. A. James 1992 A Theory of Child Health Determinants: I. An Optimization Model of Maternal Care Tradeoffs. Submitted toEthnicity and Disease.
Hurtado, A. M., K. Hawkes, K. Hill, and H. Kaplan 1985 Female Subsistence Strategies among Ache Hunter-Gatherers of Eastern Paraguay.Human Ecology 13:1–28.CrossRef
Kaplan, H. 1987 Men and Women’s Hunting in a Changing World.American Anthropologist 89:996–997.CrossRef
1991 Two Theories of Fertility: Empirical Tests and Directions for Further Theory Development. Manuscript. Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.
Kaplan, H., and H. Dove 1987 Infant Development among the Ache of Eastern Paraguay.Developmental Psychology 23:190–198.CrossRef
Lee, R. 1969 !Kung Bushman Subsistence: An Input-Output Analysis. InEnvironment and Cultural Behavior, A. P. Vayda, ed. Pp. 47–79. Garden City, New York: Natural History Press.
1979The !Kung San: Men, Women and Work in a Foraging Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Levine, R. A. 1977 Child Rearing as Cultural Adaptation. InCulture and Infancy: Variations in the Human Experience, Leiderman, Tulking, and Rosenfeld, eds. New York: Academic Press.
Lyles, B., K. R. Hill, and A. M. Hurtado 1990 Preliminary Quantitative Analyses of Food Sharing Patterns Among the Hiwi of Venezuela. Manuscript. Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Meehan, B. 1982Shell Bed to Shell Midden. Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.
Neter, J., W. Wasserman, and M. H. Kutner 1985Applied Linear Statistical Models: Regression, Analysis of Variance and Experimental Designs, Homewood, Illinois: Irwin.
Peacock, N. 1985Time Allocation, Work and Fertility among Efe Pygmy Women of Northeast Zaire. Ph.D. thesis, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
1986 Time Allocation of Fertile and Infertile Efe Pygmy Women in the Ituri Forest, Zaire (abstract).American Journal of Physical Anthropology 69:250–251.
Rosenblatt, P., and M. R. Cunningham 1976 Sex Differences in Cross-cultural Perspective. InExplorations in Sex Differences, B. B. Lloyd and J. Archer, eds. Pp. 71–94. London: Academic Press.
Shostak, M. 1981Nisa. The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
Smith, E. A. 1987 On Fitness Maximization, Limited Needs, and Hunter-Gatherer Time Allocation.Ethology and Sociobiology 8:73–85.CrossRef
Stephens, D., and J. Krebs 1987Foraging Theory. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
Williams, G. C. 1966 Natural Selection, The Costs of Reproduction and a Refinement of Lack’s Principle.American Naturalist 100:687–690.CrossRef
- Trade-Offs between female food acquisition and child care among hiwi and ache foragers
Volume 3, Issue 3 , pp 185-216
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Additional Links
- Female Food Acquisition
- Ache (Paraguay)
- Hiwi (Venezuela)
- Child care
- Foraging strategies
- Division of labor