The Tsimane Health and Life History Project is a joint health and anthropology project aimed at understanding the impacts of ecology and evolution on the shaping of the human life course. The study focuses on health, growth and development, aging, economics and biodemography of small-scale populations of hunter-gatherers and horticulturalists. It also combines biomedical and anthropological research with medical attention among the Tsimane, an indigenous forager-farming group living in central lowland Bolivia in the Beni Department.

Data Collection

Research with the Tsimane of Amazonian Bolivia began in 2001 under the joint directorship of and Hillard Kaplan (Anthropology, University of New Mexico) and Michael Gurven (Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara). Over the past years, the sample has grown to about 9,000 people of all ages in 85 villages. The number of participants varies by year as the sample is a cross-section of Tsimane aged 40 years and older at the time of data collection.


A large number of biomarkers are collected for the Tsimane Health and Life History Project, and many are available at multiple time points. Anthropometric markers include height, weight, waist and arm circumference, leg length, and body fat. Other measures available are forced expiratory volume, VO2 Max, heart rate, blood pressure, pulse pressure, and ABI. Many blood-based biomarkers are available, including CRP, cholesterol (total, LDL, HDL), triglycerides, creatinine clearance, sedimentation rate, hematocrit, hemoglobin, leukocyte count, eosinophils, lymphocytes, neutrophiles, and cytokines (IL-6, IL-4, IFN-y, IL-10, TNF-a, IL-1B, GM-CSF, IL-5, IL-8, IL-2), Antibodies to EBV, VCAlgG, IgM, IgA, IgE. Data on the presence of several parasites in fecal samples are also available. Urine-based biomarkers include pH balance, protein level, glucose level, cetona, bilirubin, and nitrites. Finally, DNA samples have been analyzed for selected SNPs and telomere length.