Trade-Offs between female food acquisition and child care among hiwi and ache foragers

Ana Hurtado, Kim Hill, Ines Hurtado, Hillard Kaplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

120 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-216
Number of pages32
JournalHuman Nature
Volume3
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1992
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

child care
food
foraging
foraging behavior
hunter-gatherer
fitness
woman
Food
Child Care
Foragers
nursing
Foraging
fruit
spouses
female behavior
women's work
fruits
health
spouse
multiple regression

Keywords

  • Ache (Paraguay)
  • Child care
  • Division of labor
  • Female Food Acquisition
  • Foraging strategies
  • Hiwi (Venezuela)
  • Hunter-gatherers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Trade-Offs between female food acquisition and child care among hiwi and ache foragers. / Hurtado, Ana; Hill, Kim; Hurtado, Ines; Kaplan, Hillard.

In: Human Nature, Vol. 3, No. 3, 09.1992, p. 185-216.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{0c4e5d1bd4ab468185d2525831988974,
title = "Trade-Offs between female food acquisition and child care among hiwi and ache foragers",
abstract = "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.",
keywords = "Ache (Paraguay), Child care, Division of labor, Female Food Acquisition, Foraging strategies, Hiwi (Venezuela), Hunter-gatherers",
author = "Ana Hurtado and Kim Hill and Ines Hurtado and Hillard Kaplan",
year = "1992",
month = "9",
doi = "10.1007/BF02692239",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "3",
pages = "185--216",
journal = "Human Nature",
issn = "1045-6767",
publisher = "Springer New York",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Trade-Offs between female food acquisition and child care among hiwi and ache foragers

AU - Hurtado, Ana

AU - Hill, Kim

AU - Hurtado, Ines

AU - Kaplan, Hillard

PY - 1992/9

Y1 - 1992/9

N2 - 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.

AB - 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.

KW - Ache (Paraguay)

KW - Child care

KW - Division of labor

KW - Female Food Acquisition

KW - Foraging strategies

KW - Hiwi (Venezuela)

KW - Hunter-gatherers

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0000392753&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0000392753&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/BF02692239

DO - 10.1007/BF02692239

M3 - Article

C2 - 24222429

AN - SCOPUS:0000392753

VL - 3

SP - 185

EP - 216

JO - Human Nature

JF - Human Nature

SN - 1045-6767

IS - 3

ER -