Mutualism and manipulation in Hadza-honeyguide interactions

Brian M. Wood, Herman Pontzer, David A. Raichlen, Frank W. Marlowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)540-546
Number of pages7
JournalEvolution and Human Behavior
Volume35
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

Keywords

  • Honey
  • Honeyguide
  • Hunter-Gatherers
  • Indicator indicator
  • Interspecific cooperation
  • Manipulation
  • Mutualism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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