I found this by accident and thought it was interesting. To summarize briefly, gathering (mostly women) has generally been more food-productive than hunting (mostly men) in human history. With the advent of cooking the gatherers became even more productive, because the calorie content of many gathered foods (such as tubers, bulbs and roots) was increased by cooking.
As a result of eating more calories, humans (the developing homo habilis) got bigger and needed more food to survive. The authors of this study propose that about the time humans got bigger gatherer women started to form strong social alliances with men to protect food from theft by other men. They discuss an earlier theory - that men acted as providers of meat needed for growing children - but defend their food theft theory as being more plausible.
asked bythhq (10591)
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