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A Cross Cultural Perspective of Polygyny As an institution, polygyny, the

social arrangement that permits a man to have more than one wife at the same

time, exists in all parts of the world. From our present knowledge, there are

very few primitive tribes in which a man is not allowed to enter into more than

one union. In fact, ethologists now believe that only one to two percent of all

species may be monogamous (Tucker). None of the simian species are

strictly monogamous; our closest relatives, the chimpanzees, practice a form

of group marriage. Among the 849 human societies examined by the

anthropologist Murdock (1957), 75% practiced polygyny.

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