Men are hunters, women are gatherers. That was the assumption. A new study upends it.

A new study challenges the long-held assumption that early human gender roles were rigidly divided, with men hunting and women gathering, offering evidence that women also actively hunted.

Upending old assumptions: A study from University of Washington and Seattle Pacific University disputes gender hunting roles among early humans.
* Until now, scientists have largely assumed hunting was mainly a male activity.
* The research team systematically analysed historical records to determine who did the hunting in human societies over time.

Fresh insights: The study reviewed historical accounts documenting hunting strategies and practices.
* The team found that in 79% of the societies studied, women were active hunters and their hunting was purposeful and strategic.
* The finding contradicts the long-standing consensus that women’s involvement in hunting was limited to smaller, more easily caught animals.

Implications and reactions: The findings challenge societal stereotypes and may have wider implications.
* Kimberly Hamlin, a professor of history, says the study challenges harmful stereotypes about gender roles and may influence perceptions of what is “natural” for men and women.
* While Robert Kelly, professor of anthropology, finds the data useful, he doesn’t see it as “eye-opening,” noting that the scientific community was already shifting towards a more nuanced understanding of early human gender roles.

Additional evidence: The revisionist perspective correlates with archaeological discoveries.
* In 2018, a 9,000-year-old burial in Peru revealed a seemingly successful female hunter. A subsequent review of significant grave sites in the Americas found a significant proportion of women buried with hunting tools, suggesting large mammal hunting was a gender-neutral activity.

View original article on NPR

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