The Impact of Primatology on the Study of Human Society

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemChapter

1 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMissing the Revolution
Subtitle of host publicationDarwinism for Social Scientists
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199893874
ISBN (Print)9780195130027
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Band-and-bond model
  • Bonobo
  • Chimpanzee
  • Female sociality
  • Gorilla
  • Pair bonds
  • Primate sociology
  • Primatology
  • Social organization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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