Coalitions and conflict among men

As in many other socially-living species, humans form coalitions to gain advantage in conflicts or to seek or maintain social status. However, studying coalition formation in human societies is complicated by the formal institutions—such as businesses, courts, and governments—that structure social relationships and conflict resolution. But even in small-scale human societies with a relative lack of such formal institutions, there is scant research on the details of coalition formation. Daniel Redhead, from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, and Chris von Rueden, from the University of Richmond, have now published a new study that describes coalition formation over a period of eight years among men in Tsimané Amerindians living in Amazonian Bolivia.

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