A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship[1] and descent. Even if lineage details are unknown, clans may claim descent from founding member or apical ancestor. Clans, in indigenous societies, tend to be endogamous, meaning that their members can marry one another. Clans preceded[citation needed] more centralized forms of community organization and government, and exist in every country.[citation needed] Members may identify with a coat of arms or other symbol to show that they are an independent clan[clarify]. Kinship-based groups may also have a symbolic ancestor, whereby the clan shares a "stipulated" common ancestor who serves as a symbol of the clan's unity. When this "ancestor" is non-human - frequently an animal - it is referred to as a totem.

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