A worldwide view of matriliny: using cross-cultural analyses to shed light on human kinship systems

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B Vol/Iss. 347(1780) The Royal Society Publishing Published In Pages: 1-12
By Surowiec, Alexandra, Snyder, Kate T., Creanza, Nicole


Matriliny/matrilocality is associated with horticulture as a means of subsistence.


Researchers tested six subsistence patterns, with plough agriculture, large domesticated animals, pastoralism, intensive agriculture and animal husbandry all assumed to not be associated with matriliny/matrilocality, and extensive agriculture assumed to be associated with matriliny/matrilocality. They found that there was a significant correlation between the absence of plough agriculture, large domesticated animals, and intensive agriculture with the presence of matrilocality, although none were associated with matriliny. Extensive agriculture was found to be significantly associated with the presence of both matriliny and matrilocality. Pastoralism and animal husbandry had no significant association with either matriliny or matrilocality. More extensive results can be found in the table on page 4 of the paper. Correlated evolution showed that matrilocality was not stable in combination with large domestic animals, animal husbandry, and plough agriculture, but that extensive agriculture stabilized matrilocality and matriliny, further confirming these results. However, it is worth noting that matriliny seems more resistant to the destabilizing effects of non-horticultural subsistence methods.


Test NameSupportSignificanceCoefficientTail
Chi-Square, Correlated EvolutionPartially Supportedsee tableUNKNOWNOne tailed