One Baby, One Father… Right? The Myth of Single Paternity


Some Amazon tribes believe a child can have multiple fathers. Was it just pure luck that our Western belief in the single father turned out to be correct?

Please subscribe, rate, and review. Support the show on Patreon at Research, writing, editing, and production by B. T. Newberg. Logo Design by Rachel Westhoff. Animation by Maxeem Konrardy. Additional credits, references, and more at


Beckerman, Stephen and Valentine, Paul. Cultures of Multiple Fathers: The Theory and Practice of Partible Paternity in Lowland South America. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, 2002.

Brown, Donald E. Human Universals. Santa Barbara, CA: McGraw-Hill, 1991.

Ellsworth, Ryan. “Partible Paternity and Human Reproductive Behavior.” (Dissertation). University of Missouri-Columbia, 2014.

Ryan, Christopher, and Jethá, Cecilda. Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships. New York: Harper, 2010.

Saxon, Lynn. Sex At Dusk: Lifting the Shiny Wrapping from Sex at Dawn. CreateSpace, 2012.

Symons, Donald. The Evolution of Human Sexuality. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979.

Audio Credits

Podcast theme music mixed from “Gregorian Chant”, “Mystery Sax”, and “There It Is” by Kevin MacLeod. Short Shorts theme music mixed from “Gregorian Chant” by Kevin MacLeod and “Short Shorts” by the Royal Teens.

Episode theme music: “Tikopia” by Kevin MacLeod

2 thoughts on “One Baby, One Father… Right? The Myth of Single Paternity

  1. How do sibling relationships work under partible paternity? For example I imagine that a man could be a primary father of a son by one woman (and for the sake of argument his biological father) and a secondary father of a daughter by a completely different woman. In that case would a marriage between those two children be permissible or would it be “incest” because of the father’s situation (despite no biological relationship between the kids) and therefore prohibited?


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