Help Privacy Policy Disclaimer
  Advanced SearchBrowse




Journal Article

Sharing and caring: Testosterone, fathering, and generosity among BaYaka foragers of the Congo Basin


Boyette,  Adam H.       
Culture Cooperation and Child Development Research Group, Department of Human Behavior Ecology and Culture, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

External Resource
No external resources are shared
Fulltext (restricted access)
There are currently no full texts shared for your IP range.
Fulltext (public)

(Publisher version), 2MB

Supplementary Material (public)
There is no public supplementary material available

Gettler, L. T., Lew-Levy, S., Sarma, M. S., Miegakanda, V., & Boyette, A. H. (2020). Sharing and caring: Testosterone, fathering, and generosity among BaYaka foragers of the Congo Basin. Scientific Reports, 10(1): 15422. doi:10.1038/s41598-020-70958-3.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-4E62-4
Humans are rare among mammals in exhibiting paternal care and the capacity for broad hyper-cooperation, which were likely critical to the evolutionary emergence of human life history. In humans and other species, testosterone is often a mediator of life history trade-offs between mating/competition and parenting. There is also evidence that lower testosterone men may often engage in greater prosocial behavior compared to higher testosterone men. Given the evolutionary importance of paternal care and heightened cooperation to human life history, human fathers’ testosterone may be linked to these two behavioral domains, but they have not been studied together. We conducted research among highly egalitarian Congolese BaYaka foragers and compared them with their more hierarchical Bondongo fisher-farmer neighbors. Testing whether BaYaka men’s testosterone was linked to locally-valued fathering roles, we found that fathers who were seen as better community sharers had lower testosterone than less generous men. BaYaka fathers who were better providers also tended to have lower testosterone. In both BaYaka and Bondongo communities, men in marriages with greater conflict had higher testosterone. The current findings from BaYaka fathers point to testosterone as a psychobiological correlate of cooperative behavior under ecological conditions with evolutionarily-relevant features in which mutual aid and sharing of resources help ensure survival and community health.