Game depletion hypothesis of amazonian adaptation: data from a native community

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Science  25 Mar 1988:
Vol. 239, Issue 4847, pp. 1521-1522
DOI: 10.1126/science.3353699


The low population densities and impermanent settlements of Amazonian Indians are often interpreted as adaptations to a fauna that offers limited protein resources and is rapidly depleted by hunting. Data spanning the 10-year life cycle of one northwestern Amazonian settlement show that variations in hunt yields result from temporal variations in peccary (Tayassu pecari and T. tajacu) kills that appear extrinsic to native population size. After 10 years, hunting success remained high and the kill rates for most prey did not suggest depletion. An array of environmental factors accounts for the incipient settlement relocation observed.