Optimal foraging theory is a set of related models from evolutionary ecology that predict the range and proportions of food items a predator should consume (diet breadth), where and how long it should hunt (patch choice), and how it should move (path choice). This paper assesses the utility of such models in anthropology by applying an optimal diet breadth approach to the analysis of hunting yields in three Amazonian societies. Specifically, we analyze diet breadth as a function of settlement age, distance, and technology. Data from the Siona‐Secoya, Ye'kwana, and Yanomamö indicate that these factors have a significant influence on diet breadth and support the basic predictions of the optimization model. (ecological anthropology, foraging strategies, Amazonia, South American Indians, anthropological theory)
American Ethnologist – Wiley
Published: May 1, 1982
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