Original article:

Sex differences in food preferences of Hadza hunter-gatherers

Evolutionary Psychology 7(4): 601-616 Julia Colette Berbesque, Department of Anthropology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, USA, jcb03c@fsu.eduFrank W. Marlowe, Department of Anthropology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, USA


Food preferences are important for understanding foraging choices. In studying human foragers rather than other animals, we have the advantage of being able to ask them which foods they prefer. Yet surprisingly, no studies of systematically collected data exist on human forager food preferences. The Hadza of Tanzania are full-time foragers in an area where the hominin record extends back to 3-4 million years ago, so their diet is very relevant for understanding the paleo-diet. Here, we report on their food preferences, elicited with photographs of species within the five major food categories in their diet: honey, meat, berries, baobab, and tubers. There were sex differences in the ranks of two food categories: meat and berries. While male and female ranks agreed on the other three food categories, females ranked berries second and meat fourth, whereas males ranked meat second and berries fourth. Theses similarities and differences are interesting in light of the fact that the sexes target different foods. We discuss the implications of Hadza food preferences for the origin of the uniquely human sexual division of foraging labor.


food preferences, Hadza, hunter-gatherers, paleo-diet, sexual division of labor.

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Evolutionary Psychology - An open access peer-reviewed journal - ISSN 1474-7049 © Ian Pitchford and Robert M. Young; individual articles © the author(s)

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