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Hunter-gatherer multilevel sociality accelerates cumulative cultural evolution

Migliano, AB; Battiston, F; Viguier, S; Page, AE; Dyble, M; Schlaepfer, R; Smith, D; ... Vinicius, L; + view all (2020) Hunter-gatherer multilevel sociality accelerates cumulative cultural evolution. Science Advances , 6 (9) , Article eaax5913. 10.1126/sciadv.aax5913. Green open access

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Abstract

Although multilevel sociality is a universal feature of human social organization, its functional relevance remains unclear. Here, we investigated the effect of multilevel sociality on cumulative cultural evolution by using wireless sensing technology to map inter- and intraband social networks among Agta hunter-gatherers. By simulating the accumulation of cultural innovations over the real Agta multicamp networks, we demonstrate that multilevel sociality accelerates cultural differentiation and cumulative cultural evolution. Our results suggest that hunter-gatherer social structures [based on (i) clustering of families within camps and camps within regions, (ii) cultural transmission within kinship networks, and (iii) high intercamp mobility] may have allowed past and present hunter-gatherers to maintain cumulative cultural adaptation despite low population density, a feature that may have been critical in facilitating the global expansion of Homo sapiens.

Type: Article
Title: Hunter-gatherer multilevel sociality accelerates cumulative cultural evolution
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax5913
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aax5913
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2020 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC).
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10094457
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