descent groups These are kin groups who are lineal descendants of a common ancestor. Unilineal descent is either matrilineal (if traced through the mother) or patrilineal (traced through the father's line). Bilateral descent can be traced through either line. Although the local discourse of descent often stresses its biological foundations, this should be seen as culturally constructed, since fictitious biological relationships are sometimes created. See also CLAN; KINSHIP; PARALLEL DESCENT.
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