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[New FCS Paper!] Child and adolescent foraging: New directions in evolutionary research

FCS members Ilaria Pretelli and Sheina Lew-Levy, along with their collaborators, have just published a new paper in Evolutionary Anthropology titled "Child and adolescent foraging: New directions in evolutionary research". This integrative review highlights the important role of children's foraging practices in life history evolution, community resilience, and immune development.

Abstract: Young children and adolescents in subsistence societies forage for a wide range of resources. They often target child-specific foods, they can be very successful foragers, and they share their produce widely within and outside of their nuclear family. At the same time, while foraging, they face risky situations and are exposed to diseases that can influence their immune development. However, children's foraging has largely been explained in light of their future (adult) behavior. Here, we reinterpret findings from human behavioral ecology, evolutionary medicine and cultural evolution to center foraging children's contributions to life history evolution, community resilience and immune development. We highlight the need to foreground immediate alongside delayed benefits and costs of foraging, including inclusive fitness benefits, when discussing children's food production from an evolutionary perspective. We conclude by recommending that researchers carefully consider children's social and ecological context, develop cross-cultural perspectives, and incorporate children's foraging into Indigenous sovereignty discourse.


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