Economic benefits of hunting dogs in the context of tropical horticulture

Author(s): Luis Pacheco-Cobos; Bruce Winterhalder

Year: 2015


We provide evidence useful to ethnoarchaeological research on the behavioral coordination of hunting movements among humans and dogs. The domestication of dogs (~15000 y BP) is hypothesized to have benefited humans by increasing the food supply, saving human energy, and guarding camps or agricultural fields. Drawing on a year of fieldwork in Santa Cruz, Toledo District, Belize, we analyze the economics of hunting and the extent to which dogs could have helped humans to protect cultivated fields from mammalian pests. We observe when hunts were initiated and track hunting trips with wrist (humans) and collar (dog) GPS units in order to describe quantitatively the coordinated movements of humans and their dogs while hunting. We note the composition of hunting parties, the skills of dogs, hunting returns and the horticultural benefits of this practice. We comment generally on implications of our results for the co-evolution of humans and their canine companions.

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Cite this Record

Economic benefits of hunting dogs in the context of tropical horticulture. Luis Pacheco-Cobos, Bruce Winterhalder. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395587)


Geographic Keywords
Central America

Spatial Coverage

min long: -94.702; min lat: 6.665 ; max long: -76.685; max lat: 18.813 ;