The paper begins with a basic description of available data on longevity in traditional hunting and gathering societies and the age profile of food production and consumption. These data are compared to information available on nonhuman primates with particular emphasis on chimpanzees, our closest living relatives.1 This discussion is followed by consideration of the comparative feeding and reproductive ecologies of humans and nonhuman primates. A model is then presented to outline the major tradeoffs involved in life-history evolution. The model shows that investments in foraging efficiency and mortality reduction coevolve and affect the age pattern of investments in reproduction. Several different approaches to the evolution of menopause are then considered. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of the theory for historical, current, and future trends in human development and longevity.
Survival curves for four traditional groups and chimpanzees are presented in Figure 10-1. The Aché are a hunting and gathering group, living in the subtropical forests of eastern Paraguay, who made first peaceful contact with outsiders in the 1970s and now practice a mixed economy of hunting, gathering, horticulture, and wage labor (see Hill and Hurtado, 1996, for a detailed description of their way of life and demography as hunter-gatherers; for further information on diet and activities, see Hawkes et al., 1982; Hawkes et al., 1987; Hill and Kaplan, 1988a, b; Hill and Hawkes, 1983; Hill et al., 1985; Kaplan and Hill, 1985; Hurtado et al., 1985). The Hiwi live in the Venezuelan savanna and rely primarily on hunting and gathering roots for their subsistence (for ethnographic information on the Hiwi, see Hurtado and Hill, 1987, 1990, 1992; Hurtado et al., 1992). The !Kung were hunter-gatherers with various degrees of contact and economic relationships with other groups until the 1970s and now practice a mixed economy of hunting, gathering, farming, and wage labor (for ethnographic information on the !Kung, see Blurton Jones, 1986, 1987; Blurton Jones and Konner, 1976; Blurton Jones et al., 1994a, b; Blurton Jones et al., 1989; Draper, 1975, 1976; Draper and Cashdan, 1988; Harpending and Wandsnider, 1982; Howell, 1979; Konner and Shostak, 1987; Konner and Worthman, 1980; Lee, 1979, 1984, 1985; Lee and DeVore, 1976; Schrire, 1980; Wiessner, 1982a, b; Wilmsen, 1978, 1989; Yellen, 1976). The Yanomamo practice a mixed economy of hunting, gathering and horticulture; many Yanomamo groups have yet to make peaceful contact with outsiders (Chagnon, 1974, 1983, 1988; Hames, 1983, 1992;