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Questions of 'kinship' have always been at the center of anthropology. Was there a connection between the beginnings of language and the beginnings of organized 'kinship and marriage'? How far did evolutionary selection favor gender and age as abstract principles for regulating social relations within and between ancient bands of our early ancestors? This book debates these and other fundamental questions about the emergence of human society. Early Human Kinship brings together original studies from leading figures in the biological sciences, social anthropology, archaeology, and linguistics. The volume takes as its starting point the evolutionary link between enlarged brain capacity and the ability of human ancestors to support increasingly large population groups. It then moves beyond traditional Darwinian questions to ask how far early humans might have organized these groups according to rules about mating and social reproduction that we would recognize today. Sponsored by the Royal Anthropological Institute, in conjunction with the British Academy, Early Human Kinship provides a major breakthrough in the debate over human evolution and the nature of society.