Mutualism and manipulation in Hadza-honeyguide interactions

Published

Journal Article

© 2014 Elsevier Inc. We investigated the ecology and evolution of interspecific cooperation between the Greater Honeyguide bird, Indicator indicator, and human hunter-gatherers, the Hadza of northern Tanzania. We found that honeyguides increased the Hadza's rate of finding bee nests by 560%, and that the birds led men to significantly higher yielding nests than those found without honeyguides. We estimate that 8-10% of the Hadza's total diet was acquired with the help of honeyguides. Contrary to most depictions of the human-honeyguide relationship, the Hadza did not actively repay honeyguides, but instead, hid, buried, and burned honeycomb, with the intent of keeping the bird hungry and thus more likely to guide again. Such manipulative behavior attests to the importance of social intelligence in hunter-gatherer foraging strategies. We present an evolutionary model for human-honeyguide interactions guided by the behavioral ecology of bees, non-human primates, and hunter-gatherers.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Wood, BM; Pontzer, H; Raichlen, DA; Marlowe, FW

Published Date

  • January 1, 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 35 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 540 - 546

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1090-5138

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2014.07.007

Citation Source

  • Scopus