Document Detail

Cooperative breeding and maternal energy expenditure among aka foragers.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23203600     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
OBJECTIVES: Previous research among foragers and theory suggests that nonmaternal caregivers offer essential assistance, which supports female reproduction and the costs associated with lengthy child development. Mothers' face trade-offs in energy allocation between work and childcare, particularly when mothers have an infant. These trade-offs likely have crucial impacts on the pace of reproduction and child health. Caregivers can help mothers with childcare or they can reduce a mother's nonchildcare workload. If caregivers assist mothers by substituting childcare, then maternal energy expenditure (EE) in other work activities should increase. If caregivers assist mothers by substituting labor, then maternal EE in work activities should decrease when caregivers are present. METHODS: Utilizing detailed, quantitative behavioral observations and EE data, we test these propositions with data from 28 Aka forager mothers with children <35 months old. We isolate paternal, grandmaternal, and other caregiver effects on maternal EE and childcare in multivariate analyses. RESULTS: Our results show that caregivers (largely grandmothers) significantly reduce mothers' work EE by as much 216 kcal across a 9-hour observation period, while fathers and juveniles appear to increase maternal EE. Direct childcare from grandmothers decreases maternal direct care by about one-to-one indicating a labor substitution. Direct childcare from fathers decreases maternal care by almost 4 to 1, resulting in a net reduction of total direct care from all caregivers. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that there are multiple pathways by which helpers offset maternal work/childcare trade-offs. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 2012. © 2012Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Courtney L Meehan; Robert Quinlan; Courtney D Malcom
Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-12-1
Journal Detail:
Title:  American journal of human biology : the official journal of the Human Biology Council     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1520-6300     ISO Abbreviation:  Am. J. Hum. Biol.     Publication Date:  2012 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-12-3     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8915029     Medline TA:  Am J Hum Biol     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Department of Anthropology, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington 99164-4910.
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