Category Archives: Hunter-gatherer

What Hunter-gatherers can tell us about fundamental Human Social Networks

Long before the advent of social media, human social networks were built around sharing a much more essential commodity: food. Now, researchers reporting on the food sharing networks of two contemporary groups of hunter-gatherers in the Cell Press journal Current … Continue reading

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Camp stability predicts patterns of Hunter-gatherer Cooperation

Reciprocal food-sharing is more prevalent in stable hunter-gatherer camps, shows new UCL research that sheds light on the evolutionary roots of human cooperation. The research explores patterns of food-sharing among the Agta, a population of Filipino hunter-gatherers. It finds that … Continue reading

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Unique social structure of Hunter-gatherers explained

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 … Continue reading

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Why our ancestors were more gender equal than us

It is often believed that hierarchical and sometimes oppressive social structures like the patriarchy are somehow natural – a reflection of the law of the jungle. But the social structure of today’s hunter gatherers suggests that our ancestors were in … Continue reading

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The Culture of Childhood: We’ve Almost Destroyed It

Children learn the most valuable lessons with other children, away from adults. I don’t want to trivialize the roles of adults in children’s lives, but, truth be told, we adults greatly exaggerate our roles in our theories and beliefs about how … Continue reading

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Anthropology on Individualism or Altruism

Christopher Boehm has been studying the interplay between the desires of an individual and that of the larger group for more than 40 years. He has conducted fieldwork with both human and nonhuman primates and has published more than 60 … Continue reading

Posted in Altruism, Anthropology, Cooperation, Hunter-gatherer, Individualism, Moral, Selfishness, Sharing | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Sex Equality can explain the unique Social Structure of Hunter-gatherers

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 … Continue reading

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How Hunter-Gatherers maintained their Egalitarian Ways

During the twentieth century, anthropologists discovered and studied dozens of different hunter-gatherer societies, in various remote parts of the world, who had been nearly untouched by modern influences. Wherever they were found–in Africa, Asia, South America, or elsewhere; in deserts … Continue reading

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Play as a Foundation for Hunter-Gatherer Social Existence

Hunter-gatherers promoted, through cultural means, the playful side of their human nature and this made possible their egalitarian, nonautocratic, intensely cooperative ways of living. Hunter-gatherer bands, with their fluid membership, are likened to social-play groups, which people could freely join … Continue reading

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Egalitarian Societies

Greater equality of wealth, of power and of prestige has been achieved in certain hunting and gathering societies than in any other human societies. These societies, which have economies based on immediate rather than delayed return, are assertively egalitarian. Equality … Continue reading

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