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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Human Complex Systems




This tutorial explores the dimensions and contours of Australian Aboriginal generations focusing on the implications of asymmetrical generation intervals with regard to bilateral cross cousin marriage, circulating connubia, senior/junior marriage systems and generic age biased marriage systems. It is based on recent data showing that on average men in Australian Aboriginal societies are 14+ years older than their wives, much greater than the worldwide mean wife-husband age difference of 3 to 5 years. The resulting highly asymmetric generation intervals (maternal = 28 years, paternal = 42 years) have important biobehavioral implications for the structure of Australian Aboriginal societies. People who work well independently and have some background in kinship studies can use the tutorial alone, or instructors can use it as a multi-session segment of an upper-level kinship course.

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