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Hunter-Gatherer Children’s Close-Proximity Networks: Similarities and differences with cooperative and communal breeding systems

Chaudhary, N; Page, AE; Salali, GD; Dyble, M; Major-Smith, D; Migliano, AB; Vinicius, L; ... Viguier, S; + view all (2024) Hunter-Gatherer Children’s Close-Proximity Networks: Similarities and differences with cooperative and communal breeding systems. Evolutionary Human Sciences , 6 , Article e11. 10.1017/ehs.2024.1. Green open access

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Abstract

Among vertebrates, allomothering (non-maternal care) is classified as cooperative breeding (help from sexually mature non-breeders, usually close relatives) or communal breeding (shared care between multiple breeders who are not necessarily related). Humans have been described with both labels, most frequently as cooperative breeders. However, few studies have quantified the relative contributions of allomothers according to whether they are a) sexually mature and reproductively active, and b) related or unrelated. We constructed close-proximity networks of Agta and BaYaka hunter-gatherers. We used portable remote-sensing devices to quantify the proportion of time children under the age of four spent in close proximity to different categories of potential allomother. Both related and unrelated, and reproductively active and inactive campmates had substantial involvement in children’s close - proximity networks. Unrelated campmates, siblings and subadults were the most involved in both populations; whereas, the involvement of fathers and grandmothers was the most variable between the two populations. Finally, the involvement of sexually mature, reproductively inactive adults was low. Where possible, we compared our findings to studies of other hunter-gatherer societies, and observed numerous consistent trends. Based on our results we discuss why hunter-gatherer allomothering cannot be fully characterised as cooperative or communal breeding.

Type: Article
Title: Hunter-Gatherer Children’s Close-Proximity Networks: Similarities and differences with cooperative and communal breeding systems
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/ehs.2024.1
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/ehs.2024.1
Language: English
Additional information: Creative Common License - CCCreative Common License - BY This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution and reproduction, provided the original article is properly cited. Copyright Copyright © The Author(s), 2024. Published by Cambridge University Press
Keywords: Hunter–gatherers; cooperative breeding; allomothering; childcare; cooperation
UCL classification: UCL
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/10188738
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