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High mobility explains demand sharing and enforced cooperation in egalitarian hunter-gatherers.

Lewis, HM; Vinicius, L; Strods, J; Mace, R; Migliano, AB; (2014) High mobility explains demand sharing and enforced cooperation in egalitarian hunter-gatherers. Nat Commun , 5 , Article 5789. 10.1038/ncomms6789. Green open access

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Abstract

'Simple' hunter-gatherer populations adopt the social norm of 'demand sharing', an example of human hyper-cooperation whereby food brought into camps is claimed and divided by group members. Explaining how demand sharing evolved without punishment to free riders, who rarely hunt but receive resources from active hunters, has been a long-standing problem. Here we show through a simulation model that demand-sharing families that continuously move between camps in response to their energy income are able to survive in unpredictable environments typical of hunter-gatherers, while non-sharing families and sedentary families perish. Our model also predicts that non-producers (free riders, pre-adults and post-productive adults) can be sustained in relatively high numbers. As most of hominin pre-history evolved in hunter-gatherer settings, demand sharing may be an ancestral manifestation of hyper-cooperation and inequality aversion, allowing exploration of high-quality, hard-to-acquire resources, the evolution of fluid co-residence patterns and egalitarian resource distribution in the absence of punishment or warfare.

Type: Article
Title: High mobility explains demand sharing and enforced cooperation in egalitarian hunter-gatherers.
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/ncomms6789
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms6789
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1459708
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