Creative free time may have come from big meals that could be shared — ScienceDaily


It’s a cold and rainy Sunday afternoon: would you rather be running after tasteless wild berries, or curled up on your couch with fuzzy socks and a good book?

You might not have had that choice if our ancestors had not taken a big gamble with their food.

A new study published in Science on December 24 shows that early human foragers and farmers adopted an inefficient high-risk, high-reward strategy to find food. They spent more energy in pursuit of food than their great ape cousins, but brought home much more calorie-rich meals that could be shared with the rest of their group. This strategy allowed some to rest or tackle other tasks while food was being acquired.

“Hunting and gathering is risky and inefficient, but the rate of return is enormous,” said study co-leader, Herman Pontzer, an associate professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University. “We can share our food, and…

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