Toward a Reality-Based Understanding of Hadza Men’s Work

A Response to Hawkes et al. (2014)


Observations of Hadza men foraging out of camp and sharing food in camp show that men seeking to maximize the flow of calories to their families should pursue large game, and that hunting large game does not pose a collective action problem. These data also show that Hadza men frequently pursued honey, small game, and fruit, and that by doing so, provided a more regular flow of food to their households than would a putative big game specialist. These data support our earlier studies demonstrating that the goal of family provisioning is a robust predictor of Hadza men’s behavior. As before, the show-off and costly signaling hypotheses advanced by Hawkes and colleagues fail as both descriptions of and explanations for Hadza men’s work.

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    i.e., “non-experimental,” in the terminology of Hawkes et al. 2014.

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    Marlowe has also carried out a large set of focal follows; a more thorough prey choice analysis incorporating these data will be the subject of a future publication.


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For funding, we thank the National Science Foundation (awards 1062879, 0242455), the Leakey Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and Yale University. We thank Bret Beheim, Mike Gurven, Kim Hill, Adrian Jaeggi, Mike Gurven, and Jeremy Koster for stimulating discussions.

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Correspondence to Brian M. Wood.

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Wood, B.M., Marlowe, F.W. Toward a Reality-Based Understanding of Hadza Men’s Work. Hum Nat 25, 620–630 (2014).

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  • Hadza
  • Hunter-gatherers
  • Provisioning
  • Hunting
  • Costly signaling
  • Show-off hypothesis