This emblem represents the clan as a whole.
Sometimes, members of the tribe also carry with them a part of such an animal.
In contrast to this, individual totems belong only to the medicine men and are passed on patrilineally.
Societies of the central and western Highlands of New Guinea have been described as segmentary patrilineal descent systems.
Among the Wiradjuri, an Aboriginal people who traditionally lived in New South Wales Australiatotem clans are divided among two subgroups and corresponding matrilineal moieties.
These two types of totemism were different means of connecting the material and spiritual world; together, they expressed the relationship between nature and society.
If an animal is needed for such a ceremony, it is provided by the members of another clan who do not hold it as a totem.
The Bismarck Archipelago east of New Guinea was already occupied by speakers of Papuan languages when the Austronesians arrived.