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Kinship And Human Origins
Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - 18:45
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 hyper-cooperation and cumulative culture, how such a distinctive social system may have emerged remains unclear. I 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. This model closely approximates observed patterns of co-residence among Agta and Mbendjele BaYaka hunter-gatherers. The results suggest that pair-bonding along with increased gender egalitarianism in human evolutionary history may have had a transformative effect on human social organization.
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Evening talk information
Our evening talks include discussion, are free and open to all.
Next evening class
'The Wives of the Sun and Moon' is one of the key myths of Claude Levi-Strauss' monumental study, Mythologiques. This evening will begin with a story-telling followed by a workshop and class discussion to decode the message of the myth. Originally, according to the Arapaho Indians of North American Plains, marriage was not a fixed state but a periodic alternation between one kind of relationship and another, a once-a-month honeymoon followed each month by divorce and re-union with kin. Everything started going badly wrong when hunting and gathering gave way to gardening, the lunar calendar gave way to a seasonal/solar rhythm - and womankind became subject to wedlock as a permanent state.