The Impact of Primatology on the Study of Human Society

Lars Rodseth and Shannon A. Novak

in Missing the Revolution

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195130027
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199893874 | DOI:
The Impact of Primatology on the Study of Human Society

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Human social organization is in part a recombination of three African ape patterns: a gorilla-like sexual bond, a chimpanzee-like bond among males, and a bonobo-like band among females. However, the human bond, even if patrilocal, is never merely a male kinship network to which females are attached through sexual bonds. Women's sociality is more elaborate than any other female hominoid's, with the possible exception of bonobos, and the local community is always a “high-density network” constituted by multiple overlapping alliances between women as well as between men and between sexual partners. The nesting of pair bonds within communities usually goes beyond a two-level hierarchy of bonds and bands, with descent groups, sodalities, religious cults, and other groupings uniting members of different families within the same community. Relationships between communities, furthermore, are uniquely elaborated in human societies.

Keywords: primatology; chimpanzee; bonobo; gorilla; pair bonds; social organization; female sociality; primate sociology; band-and-bond model

Chapter.  14207 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Psychology

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