Human behavior. Sex equality can explain the unique social structure of hunter-gatherer bands.

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Dyble, M; Salali, G D; Chaudhary, N; Page, A; Smith, D; Thompson, J; Vinicius, L; Mace, R; Migliano, A B
Year of Publication: 2015
Journal: Science
Volume: 348
Issue: 6236
Pagination: 796-8
Date Published: 2015 May 15
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 1095-9203
Keywords: Animals, Cooperative Behavior, Cultural Evolution, Female, Humans, Male, Models, Psychological, Sex, Social Networking

The social organization of mobile hunter-gatherers has several derived features, including low within-camp relatedness and fluid meta-groups. Although these features have been proposed to have provided the selective context for the evolution of human hypercooperation and cumulative culture, how such a distinctive social system may have emerged remains unclear. We present an agent-based model suggesting that, even if all individuals in a community seek to live with as many kin as possible, within-camp relatedness is reduced if men and women have equal influence in selecting camp members. Our model closely approximates observed patterns of co-residence among Agta and Mbendjele BaYaka hunter-gatherers. Our results suggest that pair-bonding and increased sex egalitarianism in human evolutionary history may have had a transformative effect on human social organization.

DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa5139
Alternate Journal: Science
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