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 decrease as camp size increases.


According to the model presented by the authors, as camp size increases, movement costs will begin to outweigh proximity costs, and therefore it will become more advantageous for hunter-gatherers to group closer together. They thereby propose that once a camp size becomes greater than a "critical camp size", movement costs will take over and camp size will increase more slowly. The authors test this by examining a scatterplot of area vs population amongst mobile groups and hunter-gatherer groups.


Test NameSupportSignificanceCoefficientTail
Ordinary Least SquaresSupport ClaimedUNKNOWNUNKNOWNUNKNOWN


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