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parallel descent A term applied by social anthropologists to a form of arranging descent that does not result in groupings containing both sexes: instead, there are matrilineal groups of females, and patrilineal groups of males. In such systems, the purposes for which the female groups exist are strictly limited, for example to the holding of certain forms of property. It has been argued that the term may be a misnomer, since the system to which it applies exists alongside the familiar marriage arrangements, as for example among the Apinaye of Brazil, who practise what is essentially a patrilineal system according to which men exchange sisters for wives.
descent, parallel See PARALLEL DESCENT.
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