Tropical-Forest Foragers - Kinship, Descent, and Marriage

Aka, Baka, Efe, and Mbuti utilize Hawaiian kinship terminologies and reckon descent patrilineally. The Efe and Mbuti practice sister exchange, and the Aka and Baka require bride-service. Postmarital residence is very flexible in each of these four groups, but there is a tendency toward patrilocality in all of them. Polygyny rates vary from 3 percent among the Efe to 20 percent among the Baka. Efe also have one of the highest intermarriage rates with farmers: 13 percent of Efe women have married a neighboring farmer.

The Aka, Efe, and Mbuti have relatively high levels of multiple care giving; Aka and Mbuti fathers are especially active care givers. Infants are indulged: they are held virtually all the time and attended immediately when they fuss or cry, and they nurse on demand. Children grow up in multiage play groups, and autonomy is greatly encouraged. Male circumcision and adolescent tooth pointing are practiced by all three groups.

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