X hits on this document





4 / 46

and fishing most important in 38 percent. However, if we treat fishing as a type of hunting, which is logical since fishing involves the procurement of wild animal protein, then 63 percent of hunter-gatherer societies emphasize hunting over gathering. Another way of looking at this problem is to calculate the percentage of societies in which a particular subsistence activity contributes half or more of the calories that people consume. Ember shows that in only 23 percent of societies does gathering contribute more than half of the calories. If Ember’s data are reliable, then, they show that in hunting and gathering societies hunting is clearly the dominant subsistence activity. This is consistent with what we have long known about hunter-gatherers: they usually spend more time hunting than gathering and meat is more highly valued than plant food.

Since hunter-gatherers are food collectors rather than food producers, they must wander over wide geographical areas in search of food. They are thus generally nomadic, and the establishment of permanent settlements is highly unusual.

The technological inventory of hunting and gathering societies is quite limited. The tools and weapons used directly for subsistence typically include spears, bows and arrows, nets, and traps used in hunting, as well as digging sticks used for plant collecting. Tools are crude and simple, generally being made of stone, wood, bone, or other natural materials. There are usually few or no techniques for food storage or preservation, and food is thus generally consumed immediately or within a short span of time.

Hunter-gatherer societies are the simplest in structure of all human societies, the division of labor being based almost exclusively on age and sex distinctions. Primary

Document info
Document views49
Page views49
Page last viewedMon Mar 21 05:05:18 UTC 2016