Navigation Links
Walking the walk: What sharks, honeybees and humans have in common
Date:12/23/2013

A mathematical pattern of movement called a Lvy walk describes the foraging behavior of animals from sharks to honey bees, and now for the first time has been shown to describe human hunter-gatherer movement as well. The study, led by University of Arizona anthropologist David Raichlen, was published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The Lvy walk pattern appears to be ubiquitous in animals, similar to the golden ratio, phi, a mathematical ratio that has been found to describe proportions in plants and animals throughout nature.

"Scientists have been interested in characterizing how animals search for a long time," Raichlen said, "so we decided to look at whether human hunter-gatherers use similar patterns."

Funded by a National Science Foundation grant awarded to study co-author Herman Pontzer, Raichlen and his colleagues worked with the Hadza people of Tanzania.

The Hadza are one of the last big-game hunters in Africa, and one of the last groups on Earth to still forage on foot with traditional methods. "If you want to understand human hunter-gatherer movement, you have to work with a group like the Hadza," Raichlen said.

Members of the tribe wore wristwatches with GPS units that tracked their movement while on hunting or foraging bouts. The GPS data showed that while the Hadza use other movement patterns, the dominant theme of their foraging movements is a Lvy walk the same pattern used by many other animals when hunting or foraging.

"Detecting this pattern among the Hadza, as has been found in several other species, tells us that such patterns are likely the result of general foraging strategies that many species adopt, across a wide variety of contexts," said study co-author Brian Wood, an anthropologist at Yale University who has worked with the Hadza people since 2004.

"This movement pattern seems to occur across species and across environments in humans, from East Africa to urban areas," said Adam Gordon, study coauthor and a physical anthropologist at the University at Albany, State University of New York. "It shows up all across the world in different species and links the way that we move around in the natural world. This suggests that it's a fundamental pattern likely present in our evolutionary history."

The Lvy walk, which involves a series of short movements in one area and then a longer trek to another area, is not limited to searching for food. Studies have shown that humans sometimes follow a Lvy walk while ambling around an amusement park. The pattern also can be used as a predictor for urban development.

"Think about your life," Raichlen said. "What do you do on a normal day? Go to work and come back, walk short distances around your house? Then every once in a while you take these long steps, on foot, bike, in a car or on a plane. We tend to take short steps in one area and then take longer strides to get to another area."

Following a Lvy walk pattern does not mean that humans don't consciously decide where they are going, Raichlen said. "We definitely use memories and cues from the environment as we search," he explained, "but this pattern seems to emerge in the process."

In future studies, Raichlen and his colleagues hope to understand the reasons for using a Lvy walk and whether the pattern is determined by the distribution of resources in the environment.

"We're very interested in studying why the Hadza use this pattern, what's driving their hunting strategies and when they use this pattern versus another pattern," said Pontzer, a member of the research team and an anthropologist at Hunter College in New York.

"We'd really like to know how and why specific environmental conditions or individual traits influence movement patterns," added Wood.

Describing human movement patterns could also help anthropologists to understand how humans transported raw materials in the past, how our home ranges expanded and how we interact with our environment today, Raichlen noted.

"We can characterize these movement patterns across different human environments, and that means we can use this movement pattern to understand past mobility," Raichlen said. "Also, finding patterns in nature is always fun."


'/>"/>

Contact: David Raichlen
raichlen@email.arizona.edu
512-560-2338
University of Arizona
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. New drug improves walking performance for Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients
2. Different neuronal groups govern right-left alternation when walking
3. Sea turtles inspire beach-walking robot
4. Walking in the footsteps of 19th and 20th century naturalists
5. The Scars of Human Evolution briefing explores physical fallout from 2-footed walking
6. Walking on marbles could be a thing of the past for arthritis patients
7. These bots were made for walking: Cells power biological machines
8. Pond skating insects reveal water-walking secrets
9. Honeybees harbor antibiotic-resistance genes
10. UCLA stem cell scientists first to track joint cartilage development in humans
11. Not all species age the same; humans may be outliers
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Walking the walk: What sharks, honeybees and humans have in common
(Date:3/23/2017)... , Mar. 23, 2017 Research and Markets ... Market Analysis & Trends - Industry Forecast to 2025" report ... ... at a CAGR of around 8.8% over the next decade to ... report analyzes the market estimates and forecasts for all the given ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... -- At this year,s CeBIT Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel ... Chancellor came to the DERMALOG stand together with the Japanese Prime Minster ... country. At the largest German biometrics company the two government leaders could ... recognition as well as DERMALOG´s multi-biometrics system.   ... ...
(Date:3/9/2017)... Australia , March 9, 2017 4Dx ... prestigious World Lung Imaging Workshop at the University of ... was invited to deliver the latest data to world ... recognised event brings together leaders at the forefront of ... in lung imaging. "The quality of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... April 27, 2017 , ... ... and Migraine Therapeutics Summit ( http://www.paintherapeuticsummit.com ) is coming to San Diego, CA ... attend this conference to learn about the latest advances in the treatment of ...
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... April 27, 2017 , ... ... and a name change to Fluence Analytics. , Fluence Analytics provides ... polymer and biopharmaceutical manufacturing processes and R&D applications. The company’s patented technologies ...
(Date:4/27/2017)... April 27, 2017  Pendant Biosciences, Inc. (formerly Nanoferix, ... modification and drug delivery technologies, today announced that it ... @ Toronto . ... Pendant Biosciences, noted, "We are excited to become part ... community, and are honored to be the first ...
(Date:4/26/2017)... ... April 26, 2017 , ... WonderWorks, ... NASA to showcase the future of deep space exploration and inspire space enthusiasts. ... Orion spacecraft and includes a guest appearance by former Shuttle Astronaut Don Thomas. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: