Hunter-gatherers are societies in which people obtain their food from wild products by hunting wild animals, by fishing and by gathering wild roots, fruits and the honey of wild bees[1].

Hunter-gatherers are often used as the basis for speculation on early modern human behaviours, as it is assumed that early Homo sapiens live hunter-gatherer life-styles[2].

Different types of returns Edit

Woodburn distinguishes two types of hunter-gatherer societies: immediate return and delayed return societies.

Immediate return societies Edit

In immediate return societies food is rarely processed or stored, but consumed immediately after gaining it or over the next few days[1]. These societies are characterized by flexible social groupings, individual choice of association, little dependency on particular other individuals and non-committal long-term relationships.

Immediate returns societies include Mbuti Pygmies of Zaire (Turnbull I965; I966); the !Kung Bushmen (San) of Botswana and Namibia (Lee I979; Marshall 1976; Lee & DeVore 1976; Wiessner I977); the Pandaram and Paliyan of south India (Morris 1975; Gardner I980); the Batek Negritos of Malaysia (K. M. Endicott I974; I979; K. L. Endicott 1979) and the Hadza of Tanzania (Woodburn 1968a; 1968b; 1970; 1972)[1].

Delayed return societies Edit

Delayed return societies tend to have a stronger concept of property for assets, including technical facilities used in production (boats, nets, traps, hives, etc), fixed dwellings, stored food, improved wild products (selectively bred animals or plants) and other individuals (women in societies).

Hunter-gatherer behaviours Edit

Sharing Edit

Violence Edit

Contrary to the arguments of Wrangham and Pinker, the emphasis on intergroup violence and competition leading to loyalty and within-group cohesive coalitions due to intergroup hostility is simply contradicted by the nomadic forager data, as Fry has shown using the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample (SCCS).[2]

  1. 1,0 1,1 1,2 141023 WOO: Woodburn J (1982) Egalitarian Societies
  2. 2,0 2,1 141119 FRY: Fry, D (2013) The relevance of nomadic forager studies to moral foundations theory

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