Human Evolution

, Volume 20, Issue 2–3, pp 123–135 | Cite as

The genetic implications of biological and cultural structuring processes during hominid evolution

  • Read D. W. 


Human populations are genetically structured through biological reproduction but reproduction is socially structured through culturally expressed systems of marriage, hence the need to take into account the cultural dimension of human societies when considering the genetic structure of modern human populations. The interplay between these two structuring processes is examined through the implications of a biologically based primate form of social organization versus a culturally based foraging form of social organization for an anomaly between the genetic differentiation implied by micro-evolutionary genetic models versus the species-wide pattern of morphological change implied by hominid fossil evidence. Simulation is used to derive the pattern for genetic differentiation at the level of the living group for both forms of social organization and a competition model is added to the genetic model as a way to resolve the anomaly. The importance of the competition model for the transition from a biologically based to a culturally based form of social organization is discussed.


simulation genetic structure cultural rules hominid evolution primates foraging societies 


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Copyright information

© International Institute for the Study of Man 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Read D. W. 
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anthropology and Department of StatisticsUCLALos AngelesUSA

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