Sunday, October 10, 2010

Hunter Gatherer Life expectancy

I saw this on Mark Sisson's site today -  an interesting research paper on Longevity among Hunter Gatherers.

It makes the point the Hunter Gatherers actually lived for a long time - they didn't all die at 40.

The data show that modal adult life span is 68–78 years, and that it was not uncommon for individuals to reach these ages, suggesting that inferences based on paleodemographic reconstruction are unreliable. One recent study that avoids several common problems  of skeletal aging used dental-wear seriation and relative macro-age categories (ratio of old to young) to demonstrate an increase in the relative presence of older adults from australopithecines to early Homo and, more strikingly, among Upper Paleolithic humans (Caspari and Lee 2004; but see Hawkes and O’Connell 2005). More compellingly, a recent re-estimation of several common paleo-mortality curves based on hazard analysis and maximum likelihood methods shows a life course pattern similar to that of our  thnographic sample (Konigsberg and Herrmann 2006).


Brian said...

A couple of months ago I read "Journal of a Trapper," Osborne Russell's account of his time as a fur trapper in the American west from 1834 - 1843. Many entries included what he hunted and ate -- like elk, deer, buffalo or bear meat daily and little else except coffee. He lived 78 years.

Other "mountain men" lived and ate similarly, some for much longer periods. Many lived into their 70s, and probably more would have if not killed by natives or each other.

. said...

Thanks for referring this interesting paper. Don Matez has a great post on paleo life expectancy: I commented this post quoting some portuguese data.