ABSTRACT: Sexual division of labor with females as gatherers and males as hunters is a major empirical regularity of hunter-gatherer ethnography, suggesting an ancestral behavioral pattern. We present an archeological discovery and meta-analysis that challenge the man-the-hunter hypothesis. Excavations at the Andean highland site of Wilamaya Patjxa reveal a 9000-year-old human burial (WMP6) associated with a hunting toolkit of stone projectile points and animal processing tools. Osteological, proteomic, and isotopic analyses indicate that this early hunter was a young adult female who subsisted on terrestrial plants and animals. Analysis of Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene burial practices throughout the Americas situate WMP6 as the earliest and most secure hunter burial in a sample that includes 10 other females in statistical parity with early male hunter burials. The findings are consistent with nongendered labor practices in which early hunter-gatherer females were big-game hunters.
Project description:As many goose populations across the northern Hemisphere continue to rise, the role of hunters to manage these populations is increasingly being considered. We studied recreational goose hunters in Denmark to assess their behavioural and motivational characteristics, willingness to alter their hunting effort, as well as their ability to act as stewards of a rapidly increasing goose population. We identified several behavioural characteristics that typify effective goose hunting practices. We suggest a degree of specialization is necessary to increase goose harvests, as well as mitigating animal welfare issues (e.g. wounding). However, the majority of Danish goose hunters can be considered to be casual participants in this form of hunting. This poses a challenge for wildlife managers wishing to engage recreational hunters to manage highly dynamic wildlife populations, such as geese. If recreational hunters are to be used as a management tool, wildlife managers and hunting organizations will need to consider how best to facilitate skill development, hunting practices and socially legitimate hunting ethics to foster the stewardship role of hunting. We conclude that it is incumbent on wildlife managers to recognize and deal with both internal factors (e.g. skill development) and external influences (e.g. animal welfare concerns). In doing so, potential tensions in the multi-functionality of hunting can be alleviated, maintain hunting as a legitimate and accepted recreational past-time and management tool.
Project description:We report on previously unknown early archaeological sites in the Bolivian lowlands, demonstrating for the first time early and middle Holocene human presence in western Amazonia. Multidisciplinary research in forest islands situated in seasonally-inundated savannahs has revealed stratified shell middens produced by human foragers as early as 10,000 years ago, making them the oldest archaeological sites in the region. The absence of stone resources and partial burial by recent alluvial sediments has meant that these kinds of deposits have, until now, remained unidentified. We conducted core sampling, archaeological excavations and an interdisciplinary study of the stratigraphy and recovered materials from three shell midden mounds. Based on multiple lines of evidence, including radiocarbon dating, sedimentary proxies (elements, steroids and black carbon), micromorphology and faunal analysis, we demonstrate the anthropogenic origin and antiquity of these sites. In a tropical and geomorphologically active landscape often considered challenging both for early human occupation and for the preservation of hunter-gatherer sites, the newly discovered shell middens provide evidence for early to middle Holocene occupation and illustrate the potential for identifying and interpreting early open-air archaeological sites in western Amazonia. The existence of early hunter-gatherer sites in the Bolivian lowlands sheds new light on the region's past and offers a new context within which the late Holocene "Earthmovers" of the Llanos de Moxos could have emerged.
Project description:'Simple' hunter-gatherer populations adopt the social norm of 'demand sharing', an example of human hyper-cooperation whereby food brought into camps is claimed and divided by group members. Explaining how demand sharing evolved without punishment to free riders, who rarely hunt but receive resources from active hunters, has been a long-standing problem. Here we show through a simulation model that demand-sharing families that continuously move between camps in response to their energy income are able to survive in unpredictable environments typical of hunter-gatherers, while non-sharing families and sedentary families perish. Our model also predicts that non-producers (free riders, pre-adults and post-productive adults) can be sustained in relatively high numbers. As most of hominin pre-history evolved in hunter-gatherer settings, demand sharing may be an ancestral manifestation of hyper-cooperation and inequality aversion, allowing exploration of high-quality, hard-to-acquire resources, the evolution of fluid co-residence patterns and egalitarian resource distribution in the absence of punishment or warfare.
Project description:To determine duck hunters'risk for highly pathogenic avian influenza, we surveyed duck hunters in Georgia, USA, during 2007-2008, about their knowledge, attitudes, and practices. We found they engage in several practices that could expose them to the virus. Exposures and awareness were highest for those who had hunted >10 years.
Project description:Neanderthal diets are reported to be based mainly on the consumption of large and medium sized herbivores, while the exploitation of other food types including plants has also been demonstrated. Though some studies conclude that early Homo sapiens were active hunters, the analyses of faunal assemblages, stone tool technologies and stable isotopic studies indicate that they exploited broader dietary resources than Neanderthals. Whereas previous studies assume taxon-specific dietary specializations, we suggest here that the diet of both Neanderthals and early Homo sapiens is determined by ecological conditions. We analyzed molar wear patterns using occlusal fingerprint analysis derived from optical 3D topometry. Molar macrowear accumulates during the lifespan of an individual and thus reflects diet over long periods. Neanderthal and early Homo sapiens maxillary molar macrowear indicates strong eco-geographic dietary variation independent of taxonomic affinities. Based on comparisons with modern hunter-gatherer populations with known diets, Neanderthals as well as early Homo sapiens show high dietary variability in Mediterranean evergreen habitats but a more restricted diet in upper latitude steppe/coniferous forest environments, suggesting a significant consumption of high protein meat resources.
Project description:Hunter-gatherer societies have distinct social perceptions and practices which are expressed in unique use of space and material deposition patterns. However, the identification of archaeological evidence associated with hunter-gatherer activity is often challenging, especially in tropical environments such as rainforests. We present an integrated study combining ethnoarchaeology and geoarchaeology in order to study archaeological site formation processes related to hunter-gatherers' ways of living in tropical forests. Ethnographic data was collected from an habitation site of contemporary hunter-gatherers in the forests of South India, aimed at studying how everyday activities and way of living dictate patterns of material deposition. Ethnoarchaeological excavations of abandoned open-air sites and a rock-shelter of the same group located deep in the forests, involved field observations and sampling of sediments from the abandoned sites and the contemporary site. Laboratory analyses included geochemical analysis (i.e., FTIR, ICP-AES), phytolith concentration analysis and soil micromorphology. The results present a dynamic spatial deposition pattern of macroscopic, microscopic and chemical materials, which stem from the distinctive ways of living and use of space by hunter-gatherers. This study shows that post-depositional processes in tropical forests result in poor preservation of archaeological materials due to acidic conditions and intensive biological activity within the sediments. Yet, the multiple laboratory-based analyses were able to trace evidence for activity surfaces and their maintenance practices as well as localized concentrations of activity remains such as the use of plants, metals, hearths and construction materials.
Project description:In animal behaviour, there is a dichotomy between innate behaviours (e.g., temperament or personality traits) versus those behaviours shaped by learning. Innate personality traits are supposedly less evident in animals when confounded by learning acquired with experience through time. Learning might play a key role in the development and adoption of successful anti-predator strategies, and the related adaptation has the potential to make animals that are more experienced less vulnerable to predation. We carried out a study in a system involving a large herbivorous mammal, female elk, Cervus elaphus, and their primary predator, i.e., human hunters. Using fine-scale satellite telemetry relocations, we tested whether differences in behaviour depending on age were due solely to selection pressure imposed by human hunters, meaning that females that were more cautious were more likely to survive and become older. Or whether learning also was involved, meaning that females adjusted their behaviour as they aged. Our results indicated that both human selection and learning contributed to the adoption of more cautious behavioural strategies in older females. Whereas human selection of behavioural traits has been shown in our previous research, we here provide evidence of additive learning processes being responsible for shaping the behaviour of individuals in this population. Female elk are indeed almost invulnerable to human hunters when older than 9-10 y.o., confirming that experience contributes to their survival. Female elk monitored in our study showed individually changing behaviours and clear adaptation as they aged, such as reduced movement rates (decreased likelihood of encountering human hunters), and increased use of secure areas (forest and steeper terrain), especially when close to roads. We also found that elk adjusted behaviours depending on the type of threat (bow and arrow vs. rifle hunters). This fine-tuning by elk to avoid hunters, rather than just becoming more cautious during the hunting season, highlights the behavioural plasticity of this species. Selection on behavioural traits and/or behavioural shifts via learning are an important but often-ignored consequence of human exploitation of wild animals. Such information is a critical component of the effects of human exploitation of wildlife populations with implications for improving their management and conservation.
Project description:This paper explores childhood social learning among Aka and Bofi hunter-gatherers in Central Africa. Existing literature suggests that hunter-gatherer social learning is primarily vertical (parent-to-child) and that teaching is rare. We use behavioural observations, open-ended and semi-structured interviews, and informal and anecdotal observations to examine the modes (e.g. vertical versus horizontal/oblique) and processes (e.g. teaching versus observation and imitation) of cultural transmission. Cultural and demographic contexts of social learning associated with the modes and processes of cultural transmission are described. Hunter-gatherer social learning occurred early, was relatively rapid, primarily vertical under age 5 and oblique and horizontal between the ages of 6 and 12. Pedagogy and other forms of teaching existed as early as 12 months of age, but were relatively infrequent by comparison to other processes of social learning such as observation and imitation.
Project description:The distribution of the first domesticated animals and crops along the coastal area of Atlantic NW Europe, which triggered the transition from a hunter-gatherer-fisher to a farmer-herder economy, has been debated for many decades among archaeologists. While some advocate a gradual transition in which indigenous hunter-gatherers from the very beginning of the 5th millennium cal BC progressively adopted Neolithic commodities, others are more in favor of a rapid transition near the end of the 5th millennium caused by a further northwest migration of farmers-herders colonizing the lowlands. Here, radiocarbon dated bones from sheep/goat and possibly also cattle are presented which provide the first hard evidence of an early introduction of domesticated animals within a hunter-gatherer context in NW Belgium, situated ca. 80 km north of the agro-pastoral frontier. Based on their isotope signal it is suggested that these first domesticates were probably not merely obtained through exchange with contemporaneous farmers but were kept locally, providing evidence of small-scale local stockbreeding in the lowlands maybe as early as ca. 4800/4600 cal BC. If confirmed by future in-depth isotope analyses, the latter testifies of intense contact and transmission of knowledge in this early contact period, which is also visible in the material culture, such as the lithic and pottery technology. It also implies direct and prolonged involvement of farmer-herders, either through visiting specialists or intermarriage, which follows recent genetic evidence demonstrating much more hunter-gatherer ancestry in early farmer's genes in western Europe compared to central and SE Europe.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Rickettsia bacteria are responsible for diseases in humans and animals around the world, however few details are available regarding its ecology and circulation among wild animals and human populations at high transmission risk in Brazil. The aim of this study was to investigate the occurrence of ticks and Rickettsia spp. in wild boars, corresponding hunting dogs and hunters. METHODS:Serum samples and ticks were collected from 80 free-range wild boars, 170 hunting dogs and 34 hunters from southern and central-western Brazil, from the Atlantic Forest and Cerrado biomes, respectively, between 2016 and 2018. Serum samples were tested by indirect immunofluorescent-antibody assay (IFA) to detect IgG antibodies against Rickettsia rickettsii, Rickettsia parkeri, Rickettsia bellii, Rickettsia rhipicephali and Rickettsia amblyommatis. Tick species were identified by morphological taxonomic keys, as previously described. A total of 164 ticks including A. sculptum, A. brasiliense and A. aureolatum were tested in PCR assays for Spotted Fever Group (SFG) Rickettsia spp. RESULTS:A total of 58/80 (72.5%) wild boars, 24/170 (14.1%) hunting dogs and 5/34 (14.7%) hunters were positive (titers ? 64) to at least one Rickettsia species. A total of 669/1,584 (42.2%) ticks from wild boars were identified as Amblyomma sculptum, 910/1,584 (57.4%) as Amblyomma brasiliense, 4/1,584(0.24%) larvae of Amblyomma spp. and 1/1,584 (0.06%) nymph as Amblyolmma dubitatum. All 9 ticks found on hunting dogs were identified as Amblyomma aureolatum and all 22 ticks on hunters as A. sculptum. No tested tick was positive by standard PCR to SFG Rickettsia spp. CONCLUSIONS:The present study was the concomitant report of wild boar, hunting dog and hunter exposure to SFG rickettsiae agents, performed in two different Brazilian biomes. Wild boar hunting may increase the risk of human exposure and consequently tick-borne disease Wild boars may be carrying and spreading capybara ticks from their original habitats to other ecosystems. Further studies can be required to explore the ability of wild boars to infecting ticks and be part of transmission cycle of Rickettsia spp.