Gender roles among foraging peoples are usually considered to be nearly universal: that men are hunters and women gatherers of plant foods, that men are more productive than women and that women cooperate mainly with spouses in a division of labor designed to care for dependent offspring; a pattern that is rooted in our evolutionary past. I describe an alternative perspective of women as hunters who cooperate extensively in acquiring small animals, sharing food and caring for children."
Rebecca Bliege Bird
Dr. Rebecca Bliege Bird is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University. She is an ecological anthropologist interested in the socioecology of subsistence in small scale societies. Dr. Bird pursues such topics as the gender division of labor in hunting and gathering, cooperation, costly signaling, indigenous conservation/land management, and fire ecology. She's currently involved in a long-term ethnographic and ecological research project with Martu people in Australia's Western Desert.
Associate Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University Dr. Rebecca Bliege Bird explores the hunting habits of Aboriginal women. The woman hunt 79 percent of game, including monitor lizards and feral cats.
Evolution of modern human beings from extinct nonhuman and humanlike forms. Genetic evidence points to an evolutionary divergence between the lineages of humans and the great apes on the African continent 85 million years ago (mya). The earliest fossils considered to be remains of hominins (members of the human lineage) date to at least 4 mya in Africa; they include the genus Australopithecus and other forms. The next major evolutionary stage, Homo habilis, inhabited sub-Saharan Africa about 21.5 mya. Homo habilis appears to have been supplanted by a taller and more humanlike species, Homo erectus, which lived from c. 1,700,000 to 200,000 years ago, gradually migrating into Asia and parts of Europe. Between c. 600,000 and 200,000 years ago, Homo heidelbergensis, sometimes called archaic Homo sapiens, lived in Africa, Europe, and perhaps parts of Asia. Having features resembling those of both H. erectus and modern humans, H. heidelbergensis may have been an ancestor of modern humans and also of the Neanderthals (H. neanderthalensis), who inhabited Europe and western Asia from c. 200,000 to 28,000 years ago. Fully modern humans (H. sapiens) seem to have emerged in Africa only c. 150,000 years ago, perhaps having descended directly from H. erectus or from an intermediate species such as H. heidelbergensis.