Wealth, Status, and Reproductive Success among the Mukogodo of Kenya

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The evolutionary biological hypothesis that culturally defined values and goals are proximate means of enhancing reproductive success is tested on data from the Mukogodo, a small group of Maa‐speaking pastoralists in north‐central Kenya who value the accumulation of livestock. The results support the prediction that, at least among males, livestock wealth should correlate with reproductive success. This correlation appears to be due mainly to greater polygyny among wealthier men. Lower age at first marriage among wealthier men may also contribute to the correlation between livestock wealth and reproductive success. The association between livestock wealth and reproductive success does not appear to be due to the productivity of wives and children, to bridewealths obtained when daughters marry, or to the effects of wealth on the reproductive success of men's wives. 1991 American Anthropological Association

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-360
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Anthropologist
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1991
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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