Human Complex Systems
ALLOMATERNAL CARE AND THE SIGNIFICANCE OF NATURALISTIC OBSERVATIONS AMONG CONTEMPORARY FORAGERS: A COMMENTARY ON DENHAM’S “ALYAWARRA KINSHIP, INFANT CARRYING, AND ALLOPARENTING”
- Author(s): Helosky, Kristen N
- Broaden, Elizabeth M
- Franco, Carol Y
- Crittenden, Alyssa N
- et al.
In this substantive work, Denham presents quantitative data on approximately 200 hours of observational research on infant and child carrying among the Alyawarra of Australia. His aim was to “demonstrate ways in which observational data collected with a hunter-gatherer society almost half a century ago can contribute to an understanding of our species”. He does just this. While his data, at first sight, may appear to be out of date (being collected from 1971-1972), that interpretation would be misguided. These are valuable and timely data, given the current climate of research on cooperative care matrices and their significance for understanding the evolution of human behavior and reproduction. Denham’s data represents thoughtful and detailed ethnographic and behavioral data collection.