Would a pack of dogs living and running together constitute a family? Or, would a lion with its females and the cubs it has sired, constitute a family? Would sunyasins or monks living in an ashram or monastery constitute a family? Or, would a hierarchically- structured cabal of criminals constitute a family?
Traditionally, in human societies, family has implicitly involved a minimum of 2 ingredients: mutual support and responsibility (with authority for leadership vested at the top of any pyramid which might exist). Were these to be necessary criteria for defining a family, a loose pack of dogs, even if led by one accepted as leader, would not qualify; but the lions above would. Would it be correct then, to include as family, members of a monastery (or ashram or commune) or those knit tightly in a criminal enterprise?
On the other hand, were the inclusion of offspring to be an essential component of a family, only the lions above would qualify. In the event, going back in time to the earliest humans, that is, to the life of the foragers and (possibly thereafter) to the hunter/gatherers, was it the results of procreation which identified, as a potential family unit, the children and their parents? Would this unit then provide intensive support and protection to the children by their parents, while operating within a wider congregation of mutually-supportive like-minded individuals tracking together?
The question which now arises is whether, like some birds and animals, pairs of which are bonded (even for life) through nesting and procreation, early humans also paired when they produced children, with implicit responsibility for their offspring? Or, did the children belong to the collective, there being no responsibility by their parents beyond their responsibility to all other members of the group?
Was this pattern the original family? That is, was the tribe the original family?