Evolutionary Contributions to Solving the “Matrilineal Puzzle”

Human Nature 22 (1-2):64-88 (2011)

Abstract

Matriliny has long been debated by anthropologists positing either its primitive or its puzzling nature. More recently, evolutionary anthropologists have attempted to recast matriliny as an adaptive solution to modern social and ecological environments, tying together much of what was known to be associated with matriliny. This paper briefly reviews the major anthropological currents in studies of matriliny and discusses the contribution of evolutionary anthropology to this body of literature. It discusses the utility of an evolutionary framework in the context of the first independent test of Holden et al.’s 2003 model of matriliny as daughter-biased investment. It finds that historical daughter-biased transmission of land among the Mosuo is consistent with the model, whereas current income transmission is not. In both cases, resources had equivalent impacts on male and female reproduction, a result which predicts daughter-biased resource transmission given any nonzero level of paternity uncertainty. However, whereas land was transmitted traditionally to daughters, income today is invested in both sexes. Possible reasons for this discrepancy are discussed

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References found in this work

Matrilineal Inheritance: New Theory and Analysis.John Hartung - 1985 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 8 (4):661-670.
Kin and Child Survival in Rural Malawi.Rebecca Sear - 2008 - Human Nature 19 (3):277-293.
Kin Preference and Partner Choice.David A. Nolin - 2011 - Human Nature 22 (1-2):156-176.
Brothers and Sisters.Monique Borgerhoff Mulder - 1998 - Human Nature 9 (2):119-161.

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Citations of this work

Kin Preference and Partner Choice.David A. Nolin - 2011 - Human Nature 22 (1-2):156-176.
The Rebirth of Kinship.Mary K. Shenk & Siobhán M. Mattison - 2011 - Human Nature 22 (1-2):1-15.
The Matrilocal Tribe.Doug Jones - 2011 - Human Nature 22 (1-2):177-200.

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