Folktale transmission in the arctic provides evidence for high bandwidth social learning among hunter–gatherer groups

Evolution and Human Behavior Vol/Iss. 37(1) Elsevier Published In Pages: 47-53
By Ross, Robert M., Atkinson, Quentin D.


The myths, legends, and folktales of nearby groups tend to more alike than those of more distant groups. Three competing models attempt to explain this distribution of cultural traits: (1) vertical transmission, (2) horizontal transmission, and (3) independent innovation. The authors examine 18 Arctic hunter-gatherer groups to quantify the extent to which geographic distance, cultural ancestry, and effective population size predict overlap in folktale inventories.

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