Scaling of Hunter-Gatherer Camp Size and Human Sociality

Current Anthropology Vol/Iss. 63(1) University of Chicago Press Chicago Published In Pages: 68-94
By Lobo, José, Whitelaw, Todd, Bettencourt, Luís M. A., Wiessner, Polly, Smith, Michael E., Ortman, Scott


The exponent of the scaling relation between camp area and population size will vary between 1 and 2.


According to the model presented by the authors, it is expected that, due to proximity tensions and the carrying capacity of the environment, the area of a hunter-gatherer camp will increase exponentially for every addition to the population. The authors test this by using an ordinary least squares model to test all hunter-gatherer societies, and then generalized least squares models to control for ecology type, regional group, and culture type.


Test NameSupportSignificanceCoefficientTail
Ordinary Least Squares & Generalized Least Squares ModelsSupportedp<.01R^2 = .68, .78, .76, .89UNKNOWN


Variable NameVariable Type OCM Term(s)
Settlement SizeDependentSettlement Patterns
Population of SettlementIndependentCommunity Structure