Extracted-Food Resource-Defense Polygyny in Native Western North American Societies at Contact

Current Anthropology Vol/Iss. 45(5) Wenner-Gren Foundation New York Published In Pages: 707-713
By Sellen, Daniel W., Hruschka, Daniel J.


In this article, the authors seek to understand the connection between male resource-holding potential and male mating success. This connection has been suggested by behavioral ecologists as a way of explaining differing rates of polygyny across cultures. The authors investigate this relationship by testing the relationship between rates of polygyny and male control of local subsistence sites among North American societies during the period of contact. They find a positive relationship between these two variables for both terrestrial and aquatic game, but not for gathered plants. This suggests support for the theory.

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