Adaptive Benefits of Matriliny and “Walking Marriages” in Mosuo Culture
Arguably the last known surviving matrilineal tribe in China, the Mosuo offers interesting insights into familial and mating arrangements to support reproduction.
Due to its unconventional relationship norms and family structure, the Mosuo tribe is typically seen as a sociocultural puzzle. The evolutionary perspective, however, assumes that social structures that can exist or have existed are likely to be functional and supported by adaptations that enable their sustained functioning. Therefore, the Mosuo pose an interesting case study of alternative reproductive arrangements and elucidate the evolutionary motives facilitated by such arrangements. More specifically, Mosuo practices can work because they enable the Mosuo to overcome a variety of adaptive problems typically faced by individuals in more conventional pair-bonded relationships. In this entry, we describe the features of the...
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