Offspring sex preferences among patrilineal and matrilineal Mosuo in Southwest China revealed by differences in parity progression
Mattison, Siobhán M.
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Citation (published version)Siobhán M Mattison, Bret Beheim, Bridget Chak, Peter Buston. 2016. "Offspring sex preferences among patrilineal and matrilineal Mosuo in Southwest China revealed by differences in parity progression." Royal Society Open Science, Volume 3, Issue 9, pp. 160526 - 160526. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.160526
Son preference predominates in China, yet there are patterned exceptions to this rule. In this paper, we test whether lineality (patrilineal versus matrilineal inheritance and descent) is associated with son versus daughter preference among the ethnic Mosuo (Na) of Southwest China. Our results show (i) an increased probability of continued fertility among matrilineal women after having a son compared with a daughter and (ii) an increased probability of continued fertility among patrilineal women after having a daughter compared with a son. These results are consistent with son preference among patrilineal Mosuo and more muted daughter preference among the matrilineal Mosuo. Furthermore, we show (iii) the lowest probability of continued fertility at parity 2 once women have one daughter and one son across both systems, suggesting that preferences for at least one of each sex exist alongside preferences for the lineal sex. The Mosuo are the only known small-scale society in which two kinship systems distinguish sub-groups with many otherwise shared cultural characteristics. We discuss why this, in conjunction with differences in subsistence, may shed light on the evolutionary underpinnings of offspring sex preferences.
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