For many decades, scientists have assumed that men hunted and women foraged in early human societies. This not only affected some discoveries about early human societies but also perpetuated stereotypes about men and women today with the supposed idea of “natural” roles in early human civilizations. To better understand early hunters, a team of scientists decided to analyze detailed observational reports of other scientists who have actually lived with groups of people that still led hunting and foraging lives. This new study gathered reports from the 1800s to the present day, and instead of looking at summaries of the reports, they studied the original ethnographies. In these reports, no one had really kept track of women hunting, and now, the team’s findings show that, in 79% of the societies, women were hunting intentionally and for large game, behaviors often associated with the stereotype of males. There have been past cases of information about women “hiding in plain sight” and ignored due to stereotypes, so the study serves as a reminder to the scientific community to include people of diverse backgrounds. Cara Wall-Scheffer, a biological anthropologist and the lead of the study, says that "The preconceptions that we all have when we look at a data set really shape the outcome," and hopes that “people take a second look at data they already have to see what new questions we can ask.”

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