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 tr
|Contact: David Raichlen|
University of Arizona