LAW 531 Week 6 DQ 1

Please forward this error screen to host101. Matrilineality is the tracing of descent through the female line. In the late 19th century, almost all prehistorians and anthropologists believed, following Lewis H.

Morgan’s influential book Ancient Society, that early human kinship was everywhere matrilineal. In recent years, evolutionary biologists, geneticists and palaeoanthropologists have been reassessing the issues, many citing genetic and other evidence that early human kinship may have been matrilineal after all. Matrilineal surnames are names transmitted from mother to daughter, in contrast to the more familiar patrilineal surnames transmitted from father to son, the pattern most common among family names today.

A modern example from South Africa is the order of succession to the position of the Rain Queen in a culture of matrilineal primogeniture: not only is dynastic descent reckoned through the female line, but only females are eligible to inherit. Minangkabau do not even have a surname or family name, see this culture’s own section below. In contrast, members do have a clan name, which is important in their lives although not included in the member’s name. Instead, one’s name is just one’s given name.

LAW 531 Week 6 DQ 1

Akan, see its own section below, also do not have matrilineal surnames and likewise their important clan name is not included in their name. However, members’ names do commonly include second names which are called surnames but which are not routinely passed down from either father or mother to all their children as a family name. While a mother normally takes care of her own children in all cultures, in some matrilineal cultures an “uncle-father” will take care of his nieces and nephews instead: in other words social fathers here are uncles.

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