The Complex Structure Of Hunter-Gatherer Social Networks, Proc. Biol. Sc.
In nature, many different types of complex system form hierarchical, self-similar or fractal-like structures that have evolved to maximize internal efficiency. In this paper, we ask whether hunter-gatherer societies show similar structural properties. We use fractal network theory to analyse the statistical structure of 1189 social groups in 339 hunter-gatherer societies from a published compilation of ethnographies. We show that population structure is indeed self-similar or fractal-like with the number of individuals or groups belonging to each successively higher level of organization exhibiting a constant ratio close to 4. (...) this remarkable self-similarity holds both within and across cultures and continents. (...)