College of Arts and Science
Hunter-gatherers and foragers are terms that refer to societies whose main mode of subsistence (or means of getting food) comes from hunting animals, fishing, and gathering edible plants, with limited or no domesticated plants or animals. Hunting and gathering was the only subsistence strategy employed by human societies until relatively recent transitions to agricultural and pastoral practices over the last 10,000 years or so. Hunter-gatherers successfully colonized all of the world’s habitats long before agricultural revolutions and moved to the very top of the food hierarchy in every environment by out-competing other top predators. With populations living from the tropics to the Arctic, floodplains to mountains, and deserts to rainforests, foragers demonstrate an impressive range of economic flexibility. Our aim in this course is to learn about the tremendous variation in foraging societies around the world as a means to a deeper understanding of human origins and human biological and cultural variation.