Evolution of the Human Family

Cooperative Males, Long Social Childhoods, Smart Mothers, and Extended Kin Networks

Mark V. Flinn, Robert J. Quinlan, Kathryn Coe, Carol V. Ward

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Humans are characterized by a distinctive set of traits, including: (1) large brains, (2) long periods of juvenile dependence, (3) extensive biparental care including large transfers of information, (4) multi-generational bi-lateral kin networks, (5) habitual bipedal locomotion, (6) use of the upper limbs for tool use including projectile weapons, (7) concealed or "cryptic" ovulation, (8) menopause, (9) culture including language, and (10) lethal competition among kin-based coalitions. The evolution and co-evolution of this suite of traits presents several evolutionary questions or puzzles that are central to understanding the human family. This chapter describes these puzzles, and suggests a resolution based on the importance of social competition during human evolution. It also considers the developmental issue of how the family social environment may affect the timing of reproductive maturation and how this timing is essential to an understanding of the family.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFamily Relationships: An Evolutionary Perspective
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780199786800, 9780195320510
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2007
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Mothers
Weapons
Social Environment
Locomotion
Menopause
Ovulation
Upper Extremity
Language
Brain

Keywords

  • Biparental care
  • Concealed ovulation
  • Kin networks
  • Reproductive maturation
  • Social competition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Flinn, M. V., Quinlan, R. J., Coe, K., & Ward, C. V. (2007). Evolution of the Human Family: Cooperative Males, Long Social Childhoods, Smart Mothers, and Extended Kin Networks. In Family Relationships: An Evolutionary Perspective Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195320510.003.0002

Evolution of the Human Family : Cooperative Males, Long Social Childhoods, Smart Mothers, and Extended Kin Networks. / Flinn, Mark V.; Quinlan, Robert J.; Coe, Kathryn; Ward, Carol V.

Family Relationships: An Evolutionary Perspective. Oxford University Press, 2007.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Flinn, MV, Quinlan, RJ, Coe, K & Ward, CV 2007, Evolution of the Human Family: Cooperative Males, Long Social Childhoods, Smart Mothers, and Extended Kin Networks. in Family Relationships: An Evolutionary Perspective. Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195320510.003.0002
Flinn MV, Quinlan RJ, Coe K, Ward CV. Evolution of the Human Family: Cooperative Males, Long Social Childhoods, Smart Mothers, and Extended Kin Networks. In Family Relationships: An Evolutionary Perspective. Oxford University Press. 2007 https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195320510.003.0002
Flinn, Mark V. ; Quinlan, Robert J. ; Coe, Kathryn ; Ward, Carol V. / Evolution of the Human Family : Cooperative Males, Long Social Childhoods, Smart Mothers, and Extended Kin Networks. Family Relationships: An Evolutionary Perspective. Oxford University Press, 2007.
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