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Relation between Foraging and Relocation in Modern Hunters

The Batek are modern hunter-gatherers who live nomadically in Peninsular Malaysia. The Batek society has been studied by researchers to understand the phenomenon and the relation between relocation and foraging. Foraging means to search widely for food or other important provisions.

In the Batek society, men usually hunt and women gather wild fruits. Just like bumblebees that forage for nectar flying from one flower to another, Batek people relocate when search for food becomes too inefficient in an area. Such behaviour is explained by a model in biology called the marginal value theorem. This study of the Batek people provides insights into how our ancestors moved as groups across ancient landscapes.

Using their theorem, researchers predicted the time in which the Batek should move to a new camp. They studied how much food the Batek acquired and how fast they consumed the local resources. Based on these parameters, they made predictions. It was found that there was close match between the predictions and the actual relocation times. They relocated before completely exhausting the local resources of an area.



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