Mexican researchers used GPS-tracking devices to follow male and female members of a rural village as they traveled in search of mushrooms for their families to eat. Their results add another layer to the differences in how men and women navigate spacially, as well as how efficiently they do it.
Women should cheer that their gender cohorts were able to gather roughly the same amount of the fungus as their male counterparts, expending a lot less energy in doing so, reports the Daily Mail.
One of the scientists, Luis Pacheco-Cobos, told the newspaper, “These findings show that women perform better and more readily adopt search strategies appropriate to a gathering lifestyle than men.”
That’s not to say that men are “doing it wrong,” according to the published research. While they used more energy than the woman did, other studies have shown that man are better at sussing out hidden objects, and are better able to create mental images to use as maps, according to the Times of London.
Scientists hypothesize that when gender roles split for women and men to become gatherers and hunters, respectively, the male mind focused on finding large quantities of prey. Women, on the other hand, were focused on reducing energy expenditures involved with gathering.
The takeaway? If you’re traveling to a new locale for the first time, it’s not sexist for a husband or boyfriend to take the lead and hunt down promising spots to eat or visit. However, it may be best for the female members of the group to be in charge of leading the group back to previous places, since it seems that the landmarks are better set in their memory.