Sex equality in residential decision-making explains the unique social structure of hunter-gatherers, a new UCL study reveals. Previous research has noted the low level of relatedness in hunter-gatherer bands. This is surprising because humans depend on close kin to raise offspring, so generally exhibit a strong preference for living close to parents, siblings and grandparents. The new study, published today in Science and funded by the Leverhulme Trust, is the first to demonstrate the relationship between sex equality in residential decision-making and group composition. In work conducted over two years, researchers from the Hunter-Gatherer Resilience Project in UCL Anthropology lived among populations of hunter-gatherers in Congo and the Philippines. They collected genealogical data on kinship relations, between-camp mobility and residence patterns by interviewing hundreds of people.
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