Category Glass and Energy
A consequence of the low intensity of management of food energy sources by HG societies is that they live at very low population densities, often in small bands of 25-50 persons, with temporary or seasonal settlements and frequent long-distance mobility. In most respects, these societies are strongly egalitarian, with food sharing and an absence of social stratification and only weak institutions for political control. However, there is a strong gender division of labor, with males doing most of the hunting and females gathering the plant foods. Fishing and the collecting of shellfish and small game may be an activity of both sexes, and children participate in the food quest from an early age.
Hierarchy is most strongly developed in semisedentary HG societies where seasonally abundant r...Read More
Unlike farmers, hunter-gatherers do not depend on energy subsidies (e. g., from fossil fuels), and their impact on the landscape is small-scale apart from localized fuelwood consumption. However, HG societies do exert indirect control over energy flows in the ecosystem, particularly by using fire to assist with hunting and to improve the grazing. In what is today the United States, driving game with fire was practiced almost everywhere in pre-Columbian times. Open areas of grassland found today in the apparent Yosemite wilderness are in fact the legacy of former HG hunting practices. In Australia, the use of fire by HG societies transformed vegetation over a much longer period (perhaps 50,000 years), reducing
evergreen rainforest to small patches and greatly enlarging the ...Read More
For understanding spatial behavior in HG societies, the archaeologist Lewis Binford made an important distinction between foraging and collecting food energy. These represent alternative strategies for solving problems of resource distribution. Foraging takes place where resources are widespread and continuously available, and where frequent residential mobility enables hunter-gatherers to move their camps to the resource they wish to use. In this way, they can forage for what they need by means of immediate return technologies and social practices. The storage of food energy is minimal in such societies, which are typical of HG societies in the semideserts and forests of tropical and midlatitudes (Fig. 1).
In contrast, logistical mobility takes place where collecting of resources is neede...Read More
Hunter-gatherers are usually identified today by means of a ‘‘package’’ of traits, including economic, ecological, sociocultural, and ideological features, but of these the HG economy is the most important characteristic. The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Hunters and Gatherers offers the following definition of the HG mode: “Subsistence based on hunting of wild animals, gathering of wild plant foods, and fishing, with no domestication of plants and no domesticated animals except the dog.’’ As well as their food energy, the fuels, fibers, and tools of hunter-gatherers also come from nondomesti – cated, noncultivated sources, although iron tools, pottery, and a few other items may be acquired by exchange.
In most HG societies, there are five categories of food energy procurement: ...Read More
The concept of ‘‘hunter-gatherer’’ became necessary when, in the 19th century, Western scholars began to classify the different modes of subsistence that existed in the world. Sedentary agriculturalists were distinguished from pastoralists, people primarily dependent on their herds of domesticated animals. But what of those societies whose food resources were not domesticated, who lived instead by hunting wild animals, fishing, and gathering wild plant foods? Such peoples lived in an immense range of different environments and in rather strongly contrasted societies, in places as remote from each other as African deserts, South American jungles, and the Arctic tundra...Read More
TIM BAYLISS – SMITH
University of Cambridge Cambridge, United Kingdom
2. Problems in Defining Hunting and Gathering
3. Problems in Generalizing from Modern HG Societies
4. Energy Flow in Contrasting HG Environments
5. Energy Flow and Optimal Foraging Theory
collecting A hunter-gatherer strategy in which task groups move out from a residential base to harvest, process, and transport seasonal concentrations of resources for future use.
foraging A hunter-gatherer strategy for exploitation of resources in the vicinity of the residential base, to harvest and consume resources that are continuously available in low concentrations.
Holocene The period of Earth history that began 10,000 years ago, at the end of the last glacial period.
hominid A primate of th...Read More
Ultimately, energy balance, the dynamic relationship between energy consumed and expended, is critical for determining nutritional health and well-being. In the industrialized world, low levels of physical activity coupled with relative abundance of food create a net surplus of energy, or a positive energy balance. Conversely, among rural food-producing societies of the developing world, limited energy availability and heavy workloads produce widespread under-nutrition (negative energy balance).
To assess long-term energy balance (physical nutritional status), nutritionists typically measure body weight and composition (i. e., fat and muscle). One of the most widely used measures of physical nutritional status is the body mass index (BMI)...Read More
Humans also show considerable variation in levels of energy expenditure. Recent comparative analyses indicate that daily energy expenditure in human groups typically ranges from 1.2 to 5.0 x BMR (that is, PAL = 1.2-5.0). The lowest levels of physical activity, PALs of 1.20 to 1.25, are observed among hospitalized, and nonambulatory populations. In
contrast, the highest levels of physical activity (PALs of 2.5 to 5.0) have been observed among elite athletes and soldiers in combat training. Within this group, Tour de France cyclists have the highest recorded daily energy demands of 8050kcal/day (a PAL = 4.68)!
Table VI presents data on body weight, total daily energy expenditure, and PALs of adult men and women from selected humans groups...Read More