Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Women the best gatherers

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Maybe this is why so many women (in comparison to me) enjoy shopping:

Men hunted, women gathered. That is how the division of labour between the sexes is supposed to have been in the distant past. According to a new study, an echo of these abilities can still be found today.

Max Krasnow and colleagues at the University of California, Santa Barbara, have discovered that modern women are better than men at remembering the location of food such as fruit and veg in a market.

The researchers led 86 adults to certain stalls in Santa Barbara’s large Saturday farmer’s market, then back to a location in the centre of the market from where the stalls could not be seen. They were then asked to point to each stall’s location. This requires dead reckoning – a skill that men may once have used to return from hunting, and one that men today still usually perform better than women in experiments. Despite this, the women performed 27 per cent better than men at locating the food (Proceedings of the Royal Society B, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2007.0826).

They were also consistently better at locating high-calorie foods such as olive oil and honey than low-calorie foods such as cucumbers, regardless of whether they liked the stall or the food. Observations of modern tribes suggest that foragers need to preferentially remember where such high-value foods are, the researchers say.

Written by Leisureguy

5 September 2007 at 3:35 pm

Posted in Daily life, Science

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