Gendered movement ecology and landscape use in Hadza hunter-gatherers

Brian M. Wood, Jacob A. Harris, David A. Raichlen, Herman Pontzer, Katherine Sayre, Amelia Sancilio, Colette Berbesque, Alyssa N. Crittenden, Audax Mabulla, Richard McElreath, Elizabeth Cashdan, James Holland Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Understanding how gendered economic roles structure space use is critical to evolutionary models of foraging behaviour, social organization and cognition. Here, we examine hunter-gatherer spatial behaviour on a very large scale, using GPS devices worn by Hadza foragers to record 2,078 person-days of movement. Theory in movement ecology suggests that the density and mobility of targeted foods should predict spatial behaviour and that strong gender differences should arise in a hunter-gatherer context. As predicted, we find that men walked further per day, explored more land, followed more sinuous paths and were more likely to be alone. These data are consistent with the ecology of male- and female-targeted foods and suggest that male landscape use is more navigationally challenging in this hunter-gatherer context. Comparisons of Hadza space use with space use data available for non-human primates suggest that the sexual division of labour likely co-evolved with increased sex differences in spatial behaviour and landscape use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)436-446
Number of pages11
JournalNature Human Behaviour
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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