Human Nature

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 129–163 | Cite as

Kinship, lineage, and an evolutionary perspective on cooperative hunting groups in Indonesia

  • Michael S. AlvardEmail author


Work was conducted among traditional, subsistence whale hunters in Lamalera, Indonesia, in order to test if strict biological kinship or lineage membership is more important for explaining the organization of cooperative hunting parties ranging in size from 8 to 14 men. Crew identifications were collected for all 853 hunts that occurred between May 3 and August 5, 1999. Lineage identity and genetic relatedness were determined for a sample of 189 hunters. Results of matrix regression show that genetic kinship explains little of the hunters’ affiliations independent of lineage identity. Crew members are much more closely related to each other than expected by chance, but this is due to the correlation between lineage membership and genetic kinship. Lineage members are much more likely to affiliate in crews, but kin with r<0.5 are just as likely not to affiliate. The results are discussed vis-à-vis the evolution of cooperation and group identity.

Key words

Affiliation Cooperation Culture Hunting Indonesia Lineage theory 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyTexas A & M UniversityCollege Station

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