In Memoriam

Human Nature 31 (1):1-8 (2020)
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Abstract

The ratio of index- and ring-finger lengths is thought to be related to prenatal androgen exposure, and in many, though not all, populations, men have a lower average digit ratio than do women. In many studies an inverse relationship has been observed, among both men and women, between 2D:4D ratio and measures of athletic ability. It has been further suggested that, in hunter-gatherer populations, 2D:4D ratio might also be negatively correlated with hunting ability, itself assumed to be contingent on athleticism. This hypothesis has been tested using endurance running performance among runners from a Western, educated, and industrialized population as a proximate measure of hunting ability. However, it has not previously been tested among actual hunter-gatherers using more ecologically valid measures of hunting ability and success. The current study addresses this question among Tanzanian Hadza hunter-gatherers. I employ a novel method of assessing hunting reputation that, unlike previous methods, allows granular distinctions to be made between hunters at all levels of perceived ability. I find no statistically significant relationship between digit ratio and either hunting reputation or two important hunting skills. I confirm that Hadza men have higher mean 2D:4D ratios than men in many Western populations. I discuss the notion that 2D:4D ratio may be the consequence of an allometric scaling relationship between relative and absolute finger lengths. Although it is difficult to draw clear conclusions from these results, the current study provides no support for the theorized relationship between 2D:4D ratio and hunting skill.

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Author Profiles

Peter Gray
Leeds City College University Centre
Brian Wood
Keiser University (Alumnus)

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The patriarch hypothesis.Frank Marlowe - 2000 - Human Nature 11 (1):27-42.
The nubility hypothesis.Frank Marlowe - 1998 - Human Nature 9 (3):263-271.

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