Reproductive interests and forager mobility

Douglas H. MacDonald, Barry S. Hewlett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Guided by life-history theory, we examine the contexts in which reproductive interests (e.g., attracting and keeping a spouse) shape forager mobility. Using quantitative intercultural and intracultural mating distance data, we report significant correlations between mating distance and population density not only among foragers but also among farmers. Further, in all of the cultures for which we could find data males on average traveled considerably farther than females in a lifetime, and among Aka foragers of Central Africa age and sex significantly impacted distances traveled. We propose a descriptive model of forager mobility that supplements existing subsistence-focused models by incorporating reproductive interests at all levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-523
Number of pages23
JournalCurrent Anthropology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999


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