chapter  2
Hunter-Gatherer Infancy and Childhood
The !Kung and Others
ByMelvin Konner
Pages 46

This chapter reviews what was actually claimed in the 1970s and 1980s based on the! Kung research and surveys of the older literature, against the background of well-studied higher primates, with some reference to more analyses of !Kung data. It discusses the newer hunter-gatherer studies and the challenges presented to the hunter-gatherer childhood (HGC) model by this research. The chapter considers whether the HGC model has any remaining validity. In the 1970s, based on research among the !Kung San, then hunter-gatherers of northwestern Botswana, and on reviews of the ethnographic literature, some generalizations about hunter-gatherer childhood were put forward. Hunting-gathering was defined to exclude equestrian hunting as a recent historical development and greater emphasis was placed on warm-climate hunter-gatherers as more representative of the environment of evolutionary adaptedness (EEAs). The Childhood Facultative Adaptation (CFA) model has merit—most human behavioral adaptations are facultative—but the demise of the HGC model has been greatly exaggerated.