Friday, June 03, 2011

Did Australopithecines Have Bonding Patterns Like Modern Chimpanzees?

The Guardian has a story on research done with Australopithecus africanus and A. robustus teeth that suggests that, while the men did not wander far from their birth site, the women did. Ian Sample writes:
“Here we have the first direct glimpse of the geographic movements of early hominids, and it appears the females preferentially moved away from their residential groups,” said lead author, Sandi Copeland at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig.

A similar situation is seen among modern chimpanzees, where females tend to move out of their groups, in part because males form strong ties that help them protect a troop's territory.

“By virtue of the fact that the males choose to remain, the females are indirectly forced to leave their communities in order to avoid close inbreeding. It could be that among these early hominins, female dispersal has some correlation to close cooperative behaviour between males,” Copeland added.
Another piece of the puzzle.

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