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  1. War Games: Intergroup Coalitional Play Fighting as a Means of Comparative Coalition Formability AssessmentScalise Sugiyama, Michelle - Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, 2021 - 6 Hypotheses

    The authors explore coalitional play fighting (in which teams of at least two play against each other to achieve a goal) across hunter-gatherer societies, with the theory that play of this type may be a mechanism for assessing strength and utility for future defense or warfare. When played against other communities, they propose coalitional play fighting can also serve to gauge strength of potential allies or formidability of potential enemies. In order to test their theories, they predict that, despite the large energy cost and risk of sports associated with coalitional play fighting, these types of games will be widespread in hunter-gatherer societies. In addition, they predict that of those exhibiting coalitional play fighting, many will play against other communities. In support of their hypotheses, they find that 54% of hunter-gatherer societies examined exhibit coalitional play fighting, of which 81% play against other communities.

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  2. Cross-cultural forager myth transmission rules: Implications for the emergence of cumulative cultureSugiyama, Michelle Scalise - Evolution and Human Behavior, 2023 - 5 Hypotheses

    The article discusses the challenge of storing and transmitting accumulated cultural knowledge over generations, particularly for forager societies, who use storytelling as a way to encode their knowledge. The authors hypothesize that myth-telling rules exist in these societies to ensure high-fidelity transmission of the stories, and predict that such rules mandate proficient storytellers, low-distraction conditions, multiple individuals and generations present, error prevention and correction, audience attention maintenance, discouragement of rule violations, and incentivization of rule compliance. The authors searched forager ethnographic records for descriptions of myth performance and coded them for these features. Results indicate that rules regulating myth performance are widespread across forager cultures and reduce the likelihood of copy errors. These findings suggest that anthropogenic ratchets played a role in the emergence of cumulative culture.

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  3. Cross-cultural forager myth transmission rules: Implications for the emergence of cumulative cultureScalise Sugiyama, Michelle - Evolution and Human Behavior, 2023 - 9 Hypotheses

    Aiming to respond to the question "How has knowledge in forager oral narrative been maintained accurately for dozens of generations?", this study explores the myth transmission rules among forager societies. The first hypothesis anticipates that these rules constrain transmission and contexts similarly across forager societies. The authors suggest that these rules are information technology aids to minimize the chances of errors and loss of information. Related to this, the authors formulate eight hypotheses of what these rules will mandate during myth transmission: 1) skilled storytellers to pass down stories, 2) minimal low-distractions, 3) numerous people 4) multiple generations, 5) measures that identify and correct mistakes, 6) measures that maintain the audience's attention, 7) measures that sanction rule violations, and 8) measures that encourage rule compliance. There is enough evidence to support 7 out of the total of 9 hypotheses. These results show the relevance of studying the rules concerning myth and knowledge transmission across generations.

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  4. Co-occurrence of ostensive communication and generalizable knowledge in forager storytelling: cross-cultural evidence of teaching in forager societiesSugiyama, Michelle S. - Human Nature, 2021 - 1 Hypotheses

    This article examined the presence of ostensive-communicative behaviors in educational storytelling within foraging cultures. Ostensive communication includes prosody and gestures used to direct attention to something or someone. The author analyzed 14 behaviors of ostensive communication and tested whether they co-occur with the transmission of knowledge in storytelling. All 53 forager cultures examined demonstrated the use of 2 or more of those communicative behaviors in oral storytelling. This supports the author’s claim of ostensive-communicative behavior as a universal pedagogical tool in forager cultures.

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  5. Coalitional Play Fighting and the Evolution of Coalitional Intergroup AggressionSugiyama, Michelle Scalise - Human Nature, 2018 - 1 Hypotheses

    Researchers examined and coded motor skills used in coalitional play fighting in hunter-gatherer societies to investigate if it was a product of agriculture/industry, or occurred more broadly in non-agricultural populations. Sampling 100 societies from the Ethnographic Atlas, researchers found at least one predictor of such motor patterns showing coalitional play fighting amongst all hunter gatherer groups with information, and multiple predictors among most of the 46 groups. Researchers theorize this coalitional play fighting was training for intergroup aggression such as lethal raids.

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  6. Killing of captured enemies: a cross-cultural studyOtterbein, Keith F. - Current Anthropology, 2000 - 1 Hypotheses

    This study examines the relationship between political system and practices of killing captured enemies. Concludes that political systems (some simpler and some more complex) relying on terror tend to kill all enemies.

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  7. 'Beauty magic': Deceptive sexual signalling and the evolution of ritualPower, Camilla - The evolution of culture: An interdisciplinary view, 1999 - 2 Hypotheses

    The author attempts to evaluate a model adaptive ritual in a sample of sub-Saharan African groups in which ritual cosmetic decoration acts as a costly signal of coalition membership and sexual fitness. The prediction is that, according to sexual selection theory, male ritual signalling will be more extreme in societies with more inter-male competition, while severity of female ritual signalling will be associated with greater need to establish costs that protect against the danger of free riders. The prediction is supported by two tests which proxy inter-male competition by degree of polygny, and threat of free riders by population density.

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  8. Headhunting and Warfare: Evidence from AustronesiaGershman, Boris - , 2023 - 1 Hypotheses

    Why did headhunting- the practice of taking human heads for ritualistic reasons- emerge in many societies? Through phylogenetic comparative analyses of Austronesian societies, the authors find that headhunting developed as a cultural response to frequent inter-tribal conflict and warfare. When warfare declined, the frequency of headhunting did as well.

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  9. Warfare, sex ratio and polygynyEmber, Melvin - Ethnology, 1974 - 6 Hypotheses

    This paper suggests that polygyny may be best explained by uneven sex ratios, particularly an excess of women while men are engaged in warfare. The author also considers Whiting’s 1964 theory that used post-partum sex taboos to explain polygyny. These two theories are tested cross-culturally and results suggest that polygyny is a response to an unbalanced sex ratio in favor of women.

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  10. Gender inequality in childhood: toward a life course perspectiveBaunach, Dawn Michelle - Gender Issues, 2001 - 12 Hypotheses

    This article builds upon gender inequality theory to examine childhood gender inequality in preindustrial societies. Multivariate and cluster analysis are used.

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