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Chopping Trees More Masculine Than Playing Sports, Testosterone Study

Update Date: Aug 23, 2013 02:42 PM EDT

Chopping down trees makes men more masculine than playing sports, a new study reveals.

After studying a group of forager-farmers in central Bolivia, anthropologists at the University of California found that physically demanding tasks that are critical to successful farming and food production produced greater levels of testosterone than playing competitive sports like soccer.

Lead researcher Ben Trumble and his team linked playing soccer to a 30.1 percent increase in testosterone and chopping wood to a 46.8 percent increase in testosterone.

Researchers explain that testosterone levels are closely related to the available of food energy.

For example, young men's testosterone levels can drop by as much as 10 percent when they skip a meal. Fasting for a couple of days can lower men's testosterone to castrate levels. Infections, parasites and injuries also decrease levels of testosterone.

Researchers explain that the body uses food to build muscle mass and maintain a health immune system, and it must choose one or the other when food energy is low.

"I can go to the grocery store and gather 20,000 calories in 10 minutes without breaking a sweat. I don't have to worry about a deficit," Trumble said, according to the Daily Mail. "But the Tsimane have to use a lot more food energy to get the calories it needs."

The findings are published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior.

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