Risk of resource failure and toolkit variation in small-scale farmers and herders

PloS one Vol/Iss. 7(7) Public Library of Science Published In Pages: ??
By Collard, Mark, Ruttle, April, Buchanan, Briggs, O’Brien, Michael J.


Prior research by Oswalt (1973, 1976) and Torrence (1983, 2001) has suggested that risk of resource failure is a significant predictor of toolkit complexity and diversity among hunter-gatherers. In this paper, the same relationship is tested among small-scale herding and farming groups. However, no significant correlation is discovered between any measure of resource risk and any measure of toolkit complexity. The researchers suggest that this absence may be the result of greater reliance on non-technological diversification methods among farmers (i.e. spatial diversification, mixed farming, intercropping), or of other unaccounted-for sources of risk (i.e. intergroup raiding and warfare).

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