Sunday, March 25, 2007

Mortality rates among hunter-gatherers

Here's research from some local folks... the point: mortality rates were possibly pretty high for most of human evolution until recently...but still considerably lower across the lifespan than chimps...I assume. They specifically point out conspecific violence in this Hiwi group.

High adult mortality among Hiwi hunter-gatherers: Implications for human evolution

Kim Hill, A.M. Hurtado and R.S. Walker

Journal of Human Evolution Volume 52, Issue 4 , April 2007, Pages 443-454

Abstract: Extant apes experience early sexual maturity and short life spans relative to modern humans. Both of these traits and others are linked by life-history theory to mortality rates experienced at different ages by our hominin ancestors. However, currently there is a great deal of debate concerning hominin mortality profiles at different periods of evolutionary history. Observed rates and causes of mortality in modern hunter-gatherers may provide information about Upper Paleolithic mortality that can be compared to indirect evidence from the fossil record, yet little is published about causes and rates of mortality in foraging societies around the world. To our knowledge, interview-based life tables for recent hunter-gatherers are published for only four societies (Ache, Agta, Hadza, and Ju/'hoansi). Here, we present mortality data for a fifth group, the Hiwi hunter-gatherers of Venezuela. The results show comparatively high death rates among the Hiwi and highlight differences in mortality rates among hunter-gatherer societies. The high levels of conspecific violence and adult mortality in the Hiwi may better represent Paleolithic human demographics than do the lower, disease-based death rates reported in the most frequently cited forager studies.

1 comment:

Dr. Leonid Gavrilov, Ph.D. said...

Thank you for your interesting post!
I thought perhaps you may also find this related post interesting to you:
Longevity Science: Evolution of Aging
http://longevity-science.blogspot.com/2007/03/evolution-of-aging.html

 
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