Human behavioral ecology: I


  • Eric Alden Smith

    Associate Professor
    1. Anthropology at the University of Washington
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    • He is a specialist in Native American ethnography, human behavioral ecology, and evolutionary theory. He is the author of Inujjuamiut Foraging Strategies (1991), and is editor (with Bruce Winterhalder) of Hunter Gatherer Foraging Strategies (1981) and Evolutionary Ecology and Human Behavior (1992).


New fields of inquiry rarely spring fully grown from the forehead of a single genius, and in addition, it is often difficult to decide when a related set of inquiries has coalesced sufficiently to define a field. As measured by the solicitation and publication of review articles, human behavioral ecology has recently become a self-conscious field, for this is the third essay to review it1,2 and a book-length survey will appear later this year.3 In this two-part article, I will try to give readers a sense of the field by outlining its theoretical and methodological principles and key issues and by summarizing representative studies and unresolved questions in three main topical areas: subsistence strategies (Part I) and reproductive strategies and social interactions (Part II).