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Signals from the hunt: Widening the spectrum on male pursuits of dangerous animals

Oommen, MA and Shanker, K (2021) Signals from the hunt: Widening the spectrum on male pursuits of dangerous animals. In: Journal of Anthropological Research .

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1086/715404


With a long history predating modern humans, big-game hunting has been implicated in catalyzing human evolution through nutritional and provisioning benefits. An alternative view argues for this practice as a costly signaling strategy geared toward increasing male fitness through prestige and status benefits. We examine this possibility across contexts that include early human evolutionary phases, as well as historical and contemporary time periods. Our interpretive exploration across several disciplinary literatures covers hunting in the hominin evolutionary past, extant hunter-gatherers, and finally, political and cultural big-game hunting and sport as recounted in historical and mythological narratives. In some of these, we find strong support for costly signaling as a beneficial strategy. Further, in contexts where subsistence is not an articulated motivation for hunting, we argue that benefits accrued through male-to-male signaling and resulting status as measured through prestige and dominance could be a key component of social hierarchies and, ultimately, fitness outcomes. © 2021 The University of New Mexico. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Journal of Anthropological Research
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Additional Information: The copyright for this article belongs to University of Chicago Press
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2021 16:29
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2021 16:29
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/69949

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