Early human families and childrearing

JOHN DUNCAN WATERS (unknown@unknown.account.com)
21 Jul 1996 11:26:58 GMT

Further to message from Scott Collins on 29-Apr-96; and Jim Moore on 04-May-96

An examination of existing hunter gatherer tribes shows that their
characteristic family/child-rearing structure is a L.B.I. (long birth
interval)multi-age brood. The definition of a multi-age brood is: any brood of
young mammals of different ages, all of whom are in their preweaning stage of
development. The age difference must be at least one gestation period. Scott has
focused upon an important area of human/hominid development.

The significance of the multi-age brood characteristic is that humans are the
only specie of mammal to rear multi-age broods to maturity. Apes do not have
multi-age broods. This begs two questions, namely: what was the process which
led to the multi-age brood characteristic? and what was the long term
evolutionary effect of the multi-age brood characteristic.

It is estimated that the first kind of multi-age brood (i.e. the L.B.I. brood)
developed approximately 1.5 million years B.P. The other kind of multi-age brood
(the S.B.I. - short birth interval - brood) developed about 15k to 20k B.P. This
latter brood is the normal multi-age brood in agrarian and industrial

John Waters

Email jdwaters@dircon.co.uk