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Human society: What is it and how did it evolve

sábado, 15 de octubre de 2016

Human society: What is it and how did it evolve

Bernard Chapais - University of Montreal
"Human society: What is it and how did it evolve?"



The social structure of any species is an emergent biological phenomenon
and as such it has an evolutionary history. The human social structure
is no exception to that rule but it has an important peculiarity: it is
hidden from view by its numerous cultural expressions. To circumvent the
problem and characterize the deep structure of human society one must
carry out a comparative analysis of human and nonhuman primate societies
and employ evolutionarily significant categories. Using that approach I
define human societies as nested associations of multifamily groups, a
structure made up of a specific set of features, notably, strong ties
between groups stemming from the linkage of kinship bonds and pair
bonds, a uniquely human trait. I also argue that primatology makes it
possible to define a five-step model of the maximally parsimonious
evolutionary sequence that led to human social structure. Finally I show
how the present phylogenetic perspective informs functional analyses of
human behavior by pointing to the 'adaptive suite pitfall'and the
importance of phylogenetic constraints.

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