Co-residence patterns in hunter-gatherer societies show unique human social structure.

Bibliographic Collection: 
MOCA Reference, APE
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Hill, Kim R; Walker, Robert S; Božičević, Miran; Eder, James; Headland, Thomas; Hewlett, Barry; Hurtado, A Magdalena; Marlowe, Frank; Wiessner, Polly; Wood, Brian
Year of Publication: 2011
Journal: Science
Volume: 331
Issue: 6022
Pagination: 1286-9
Date Published: 2011 Mar 11
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 1095-9203
Keywords: Adult, Cooperative Behavior, Cross-cultural comparison, Cultural Evolution, Family, Female, Humans, Male, Population Groups, Residence Characteristics, Social Behavior

Contemporary humans exhibit spectacular biological success derived from cumulative culture and cooperation. The origins of these traits may be related to our ancestral group structure. Because humans lived as foragers for 95% of our species' history, we analyzed co-residence patterns among 32 present-day foraging societies (total n = 5067 individuals, mean experienced band size = 28.2 adults). We found that hunter-gatherers display a unique social structure where (i) either sex may disperse or remain in their natal group, (ii) adult brothers and sisters often co-reside, and (iii) most individuals in residential groups are genetically unrelated. These patterns produce large interaction networks of unrelated adults and suggest that inclusive fitness cannot explain extensive cooperation in hunter-gatherer bands. However, large social networks may help to explain why humans evolved capacities for social learning that resulted in cumulative culture.

DOI: 10.1126/science.1199071
Alternate Journal: Science
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