I was wondering if ExpressionEngine support child / sub themes similar to the way other CMSs have implemented template / theme inheritance?
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No, it does not. In fact, EE does not really use "themes", per se. it uses templates, which are in no way bundled together as "themes". It's very difficult to "theme" EE, because every EE install is completely different with different channels, custom fields, etc.
EE is really about bespoke, custom sites. If you go in thinking of it as a "theme-able" CMS, you are in for a world of confusion and hurt.
EE is independent of any preset theme. It exists as a CMS that works within any theme you choose - you could pick any HTML theme up from ThemeForest, replace the default text with EE tags, and boom - instant theme with CMS. that said, it's not wordpress where you just install the theme and off you go, but on the other hand, it's not limited to preset locations for content - your site doesn't have to resemble 1000 other ones. Unless that's what you had in mind..