Human Behavioral Ecology (and, within this, OFT or Optimal Foraging Strategy) postulates that humans, just as for any other organism, always adopt the most efficient resource provisioning strategies under the given environmental conditions, and subject to the constraints of their own physiological and anatomical limitations. Within this theoretical framework, TROPHIc studies questions that have been widely debated, such as the importance of scavenging in the different species of the genus Homo, the appearance of specialized hunting, or the role of cannibalism as a source of food during the Lower and Middle Paleolithic.

Starting with the literature, TROPHIc will compile an exhaustive database of the archaeological and paleontological record of the Iberian Peninsula from the arrival of the first hominins in Europe until the extinction of the Neanderthals (1.4 Ma to 30 ka). Inventories of fauna and contextual information will be compiled, as well as all the available information about human activities at the sites. Starting with these data, the environmental changes and the variations in the availability of animal resources will be reconstructed, and the different subsistence strategies of hominins over time will be documented.

As an initial approach, patterns will be sought, comparing the environmental conditions with the "trophic behavior" of hominins documented in the archaeological record. Subsequently, computerized simulation models will be built to recreate the different ecological scenarios identified in the fossil record, and how hominins behaved in these. Thus, the efficiency of each strategy in a given scenario will be evaluated, and it will be determined whether the hominins behaved in the manner predicted by OFT. If this is not the case that would tell us that the behavior of these hominins was influenced by other adaptations such as technology and/or differences in cognitive ability between species. As a complement to this, experiments to recreate certain activities typical of Paleolithic hunter-gatherers will be carried out to obtain data on the energy expenditure of these foraging tasks, and these will be used in the simulation models.