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Title: No sex differences in the economy of load‐carriage
Authors: Prado-Nóvoa, Olalla
Rodríguez, Jesús
Vidal-Cordasco, Marco
Zorrilla-Revilla, Guillermo
Mateos Cachorro, Ana
Issue Date: Jun-2020
Publisher: Wiley
Citation: American Journal of Human Biology, 2020, 32 (3), e23352
Abstract: Objectives: Load transport activities are of vital importance to current foragers for daily subsistence tasks; thus, it has been suggested that these practices have transformed physical and behavioral characteristics through human evolution. Together with the procurement targets and strategies, the transportation of resources acquired while foraging is strongly influenced by the sex of the foragers. In hunter‐gatherer societies, women, despite their smaller body size, usually carry heavier burdens than males. In this study, whether those behavioral differences can be explained by a different economy of load‐carriage by sex, irrespective of the body mass of the individuals, is investigated. Material and methods: The energy expenditure of a sample of 48 volunteers (21 females, 27 males) during a set of locomotion and burden transport trials was monitored. Two indexes were computed to compare the increment in the cost of locomotion relative to the load carried by sex. Results: The results demonstrate that both males and females, carrying the same relative loads, experience the same increment over the cost of their unloaded locomotion. Therefore, apart from obvious differences in body mass, there is no evidence of a dissimilar economy favoring one sex over the other that would explain the differences in load‐carriage activities observed among current foraging populations. Conclusions: These outcomes provide new conclusions about the constraints of the behavioral ecology of burden transport activities, and highlight the necessity to reevaluate, from an evolutionary perspective, the ideas about the sexual division of subsistence labor in hunter‐gatherer and agriculturalist populations.
ISSN: 1042-0533
DOI: 10.1002/ajhb.23352
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Type: Article
Appears in Collections:Paleobiología
Bioenergía y Análisis del Movimiento

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