Chapter 7. Kinship in Biological Perspective

  1. Nicholas J. Allen Reader1,
  2. Hilary Callan Director2,
  3. Robin Dunbar Professor Director3 and
  4. Wendy James Professor Emeritus Fellow committed social anthropologist4
  1. Robin Dunbar Professor Director

Published Online: 30 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444302714.ch7

Early Human Kinship: From Sex to Social Reproduction

Early Human Kinship: From Sex to Social Reproduction

How to Cite

Dunbar, R. (2008) Kinship in Biological Perspective, in Early Human Kinship: From Sex to Social Reproduction (eds N. J. Allen, H. Callan, R. Dunbar and W. James), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444302714.ch7

Editor Information

  1. 1

    Oxford, UK

  2. 2

    Royal Anthropological Institute, Great Britain

  3. 3

    University of Oxford, UK

  4. 4

    St Cross College, Oxford, UK

Author Information

  1. University of Oxford, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 MAR 2009
  2. Published Print: 6 JUN 2008

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405179010

Online ISBN: 9781444302714



  • other primates and biological approach;
  • kinship in biological perspective;
  • biology, evolution, and kinship;
  • foundations of biological kinship lie uncompromisingly in genetics;
  • prosociality and multilevel selection;
  • role of cognition in managing kinship structures;
  • biological explanations of kinship;
  • managing complex social relationships in large communities and language-based mechanisms


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Introduction

  • Biology, Evolution, and Kinship

  • Prosociality and Multilevel Selection

  • Some Cognitive Constraints

  • Conclusions