Re: Question about Prehistoric Male Dominance

Scott C DeLancey (
5 Dec 1994 14:54:45 -0800

In article <dexter.786403510@aries>, Frosch <> wrote:
> i also recommend 'the egalitarians: human and chimpanzee' (i
>don't have the author's name at the moment, sorry) for a fascinating
>reanalysis of goodall's studies on provisioned chimpanzees at gombe,
>and comparison with non-provisioned chimps and minimally disturbed
>human forager societies.

Margaret Power, _The Egalitarians, Human and Chimpanzee: An
Anthopological View of Social (??)_. Well worth reading by
anyone who wants to talk about ape analogies to human social
behavior. Power argues that you find the classic hierarchical
power structure among chimps only when a band is for some reason
confined to a limited area. (This happens, for example, when
primatologists, in order to keep a band around for study, leave
food out for them in a specific location). When all members of the
band can move around freely, there's much less "power" and a lot
more individual preference involved in individual and band behavior.
This is interesting, since it's precisely among pre-agricultural
hunter-gatherer human societies that we find little or no
political organization or explicit power hierarchy. Hunter-
gatherers, of course, are maximally mobile, and small groups can
(and do) pack up and leave whenever they feel like it.

Scott DeLancey
Department of Linguistics
University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403, USA