Risk, foraging and food sharing among the ache

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

19 Scopus citations


This paper examines foraging strategies and food-sharing practices among the Ache of eastern Paraguay. We attempt to determine whether sensitivity to variance in food availability is shaping specific features of Ache food acquisition patterns and their handling of food, once it is acquired. Specifically, we ask whether there is any evidence that (1) as individuals, Ache males adjust their foraging behavior in order to reduce day-to-day variation in foraging returns or, alternatively, (2) they share food for the purpose of reducing day-to-day variation in food intake. To address the first question, we compare the observed pattern of foraging behavior with other alternative food acquisition strategies in terms of their respective mean return rates (calories acquired per unit time) and temporal variances around those means. With respect to the latter question, we test the hypothesis that temporal variance in acquisition predicts the extent to which food resources are shared. We also examine the extent to which the costs and benefits of sharing food differ across categories of individuals. Finally, alternative explanations of food-sharing and other means of reducing risk are considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRisk and Uncertainty in Tribal and Peasant Economies
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages37
ISBN (Electronic)9781000238303
ISBN (Print)0813378214, 9780367286118
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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