Reservation food sharing among the ache of Paraguay

Michael Gurven, Wesley Allen-Arave, Kim Hill, A. Magdalena Hurtado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


We describe food transfer patterns among Ache Indians living on a permanent reservation. The social atmosphere at the reservation is characterized by a larger group size, a more predictable diet, and more privacy than the Ache typically experience in the forest while on temporary foraging treks. Although sharing patterns vary by resource type and package size, much of the food available at the reservation is given to members of just a few other families. We find significant positive correlations between amounts transferred among pairs of families, a measure of the "contingency" component required of reciprocal altruism models. These preferred sharing partners are usually close kin. We explore implications of these results in light of predictions from current sharing models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-297
Number of pages25
JournalHuman Nature
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Cooperation
  • Food sharing
  • Hunter-gatherers
  • Reciprocity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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