Re: Social evolution of hominids

debra mckay (
Tue, 21 Jan 1997 21:48:25 GMT (Jim Foley) wrote:
>In article <>, Phillip Bigelow <> wrote:
>>Actually, history shows that in certain cultures, when men possess
>>most of the influence in a society, polygamy can also be socially-
>>And when polygamy is practiced in human society, it is ?always one
>>man with multiple wives. I am not aware of any historical accounts
>>of the reverse being the case. Anyone?
>Check out "Man on Earth", by John Reader. He describes a polyandrous
>society in India.
Polyandry is known in Nepal, where one woman marries a group of brothers
(even the ones not born yet); this is known as "fraternal polyandry".
The economic aim seems to be to prevent the fragmentation of land among
many households where land is scarce. Some Sinhalese (Sri Lanka) practice
"associated polyandry" where one woman has two (rarely more) husbands who are
not related; it usually starts out monogamous and the second husband is a
later addition. The Indian example might be the Nayar, who practiced a
unique form of marriage around the end of the 18th century--"spouses" did
not live together and a woman might have several men who were considered
their spouse.

Source: Schultz and Lavenda, 1990, _Cultural Anthropology_. West
Publiching Co., pp300-303.


>Jim (Chris) Foley,
>Assoc. Prof. of Omphalic Envy Research interest:
>Department of Anthropology Primitive hominids
>University of Ediacara (Australopithecus creationistii)