Partible Paternity – Multiple Father Theory
What does partible paternity mean?
The term partible paternity refers to a cultural concept created by South American foraging societies that believe multiple men father a single child with one mother. This should not be confused with polygyny which is when one man fathers many children with different women.
Many anthropologists believe these types of societies who participate in this practice do this as a form of keeping the tribe together and building kinship. Some researchers also believe this practice motivates men to have a vested interest in the survival and development of the child because each man who slept with the mother contributed genetically to the child.
Which cultures practice partible paternity?
In South America, some indigenous cultures practice polygynous pair bonding. According to researchers, they believe this practice may have also been practiced by the indigenous people of Papua New Guinea.