Nepotism and Politics

Dario Maestripieri

in Macachiavellian Intelligence

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780226501178
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226501215 | DOI:
Nepotism and Politics

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  • Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology


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Nepotism is inherent in both humans and animals. Some animal societies are more or less nepotistic than others, but there is no society in which individuals are biased in favor of non-kin and against their kin. The reason nepotism exists is a phenomenon called kin selection. By helping relatives with whom they share genes, individuals increase the probability that their own genes will be passed on to the next generation. Without information on kinship, it is virtually impossible to understand how any animal or human society is organized and why the individuals in it behave the way they do. This chapter, which examines nepotism and politics among rhesus macaques, first discusses Sigmund Freud's explanation of how sex between family members contributes to human behavior. It looks at incest and dispersal, the origins of same-sex bonding, rhesus macaques' social tolerance of their relatives and other individuals, and their altruism.

Keywords: rhesus macaques; politics; nepotism; kin selection; kinship; social tolerance; altruism; same-sex bonding; incest; Sigmund Freud

Chapter.  6248 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology

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