Boreal Foraging Strategies

  • Bruce Winterhalder


In 1974–1976, in the book Zoönomia or the Laws of Organic Life, Erasmus Darwin (1794) speculated that modification of species was brought about through the satisfaction of three wants. He identified them with admirable directness as “lust, hunger, and danger.” In the more prosaic but parallel terminology of contemporary evolutionary ecology these have become mating, foraging and the avoidance of predators (and I would add hazards). The list is still meant to be inclusive, and to represent separable arenas of adaptive or fitness-enhancing behavior, each subject to somewhat different types of investigation. Other chapters in this volume cover the mating and demographic systems and the responses to climate, physical hazards, and the dangers from predation of native peoples living in the boreal forest of northern Ontario. Adjustments by residents to the effective environment of this region are described and analyzed as adaptations. In this chapter I add an analysis relevant to E. Darwin’s second category, hunger. In language more appropriate to the time, it is a study of foraging behavior.


Boreal Forest Snow Depth Diet Breadth Optimal Forager Beaver Pond 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce Winterhalder
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

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