Socioeconomic Aspects of Human Behavioral Ecology

ISBN: 978-0-76231-082-1, eISBN: 978-1-84950-255-9

ISSN: 0190-1281

Publication date: 30 December 2004


Data are presented on the benefits and costs that accrue to big game hunters living in the whaling community of Lamalera, Indonesia. Results indicate that big game hunting provides males a strong selective advantage. Harpooners, and to a lesser degree hunters in general, reap substantial fitness benefits from their activities. Hunters, especially harpooners, have significantly more offspring than other men after controlling for age. Hazard analysis shows that harpooners marry significantly earlier and start reproducing at an earlier age. This is not case for other hunt group members or non-hunting participants – the technicians and the boat managers. These results are consistent with data from other hunting societies that show significant reproductive benefits for good hunters. Harpooners experience other costs and benefits. Harpooners receive significantly more meat even after controlling for the effort they expend hunting, while at the same time suffer an increased risk of mortality. The results are discussed in the context of the hunting hypothesis and the current debate within human behavioral ecology concerning the role of hunting as a human male reproductive strategy.


Alvard, M. and Gillespie, A. (2004), "GOOD LAMALERA WHALE HUNTERS ACCRUE REPRODUCTIVE BENEFITS", Alvard, M. (Ed.) Socioeconomic Aspects of Human Behavioral Ecology (Research in Economic Anthropology, Vol. 23), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 225-247.

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