Niche construction and the toolkits of hunter–gatherers and food producers

Biological Theory Vol/Iss. 6(3) Springer Netherlands Published In Pages: 251-259
By Collard, Mark, Buchanan, Briggs, Ruttle, April, O’Brien, Michael J.


The researchers test the relationship between toolkit complexity and diversity as defined by Oswalt (1973) and environmental and demographic variables. Neither population size nor risk of resource failure predict toolkit characteristics among all groups in the sample. However, population size is significantly positively correlated with toolkit diversity and complexity among food-producers, whereas environmental factors indicating risk of resource failure are significantly positively correlated among hunter-gatherers. This leads the researchers to suggest that food-producers' effectiveness at niche construction is a result of their large population size, which thus has a larger effect on toolkit composition than does environmental risk relative to hunter-gatherers.

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