Archives for posts with tag: mexico

oops! it happened again. =/

Deletion of Any Single Gene Provokes Mutations Elsewhere in the Genome“Johns Hopkins researchers report that the deletion of any single gene in yeast cells puts pressure on the organism’s genome to compensate, leading to a mutation in another gene…. ‘The deletion of any given gene usually results in one, or sometimes two, specific genes being “warped” in response….’”

Self-heal like Wolverine? Gene discovery might hold clues“In a discovery by a Harvard researcher, a reactivated gene found in embryos helps mice regrow clipped parts of their ears and toes. Could the ‘fountain of youth’ gene hold promise for humans too?” – i want one! – h/t mike anissimov!

Gene Variants Up CKD [chronic kidney disease] Risk in Blacks“A high-risk genetic variant conferred a significantly increased risk of progressive kidney disease in African Americans, at least partly explaining a racial disparity in end-stage renal disease (ESRD), investigators reported here. Analysis of black and white patients in another trial — half with diabetes — showed kidney function declined almost three times as fast in blacks with the high-risk APOL1 profile as compared with whites….”

Genetic clue to high heart risk of black Americans“The gene that produces the protein [PC-TP which activates a clotting factor called PAR4] is four times more active in the platelets of black Americans than it is in white Americans.” – h/t hbd bibliography!

Europeans and South Asians share by descent SLC24A5 light skin allele“‘We date the coalescence of the light skin associated allele at 22–28 KYA. Both our sequence and genome-wide genotype data confirm that this gene has been a target for positive selection among Europeans. However, the latter also shows additional evidence of selection in populations of the Middle East, Central Asia, Pakistan and North India but not in South India.’” – @dienekes’.

The ancestors with no descendants“On the eve of the last ice age, Siberia was home to a people who were related to modern Europeans and Amerindians but not to modern native Siberians. So concludes an analysis of DNA from the remains of a boy who lived 24,000 years ago at Mal’ta near Lake Baikal, Siberia…. [T]he Mal’ta people probably looked very much like native Indians with a more European skull shape, perhaps like the Ainu of northern Japan or the Kennewick humans of North America.”

Political colour is half genetic“New study provides definitive evidence that heritability plays a significant role in the formation of political ideology, regardless of how ideology is measured, the time period or population sampled.” – @ScienceNordic.com – the photo caption is pretty funny/telling: “Imagine if scientists could identify the ‘liberal’ genes and genetically modify babies so that they all voted liberal when they grow up? Brave new world?” (and the first comment is priceless!) – h/t ray sawhill!

It’s not just conservatives that support discrimination against their ideological foes“‘Discrimination by liberals has received scant attention in the literature, despite this being a prevalent concern in conservative rhetoric. By only examining conservative biases, social scientists fail to fully explore political intolerance in America. This research helps fill that gap….’ When opposing groups were seen as violating core values, liberals were just as likely to support discrimination against same-sex marriage opponents, religious fundamentalists, Tea Party protestors, and prolife people as were conservatives against feminists, atheists, leftist protestors, and prochoice people.”

Politics Has an Odor“[C]onservatives are significantly more likely than liberals to detect [bitter tasting] PTC [phenylthiocarbamide].” – h/t jayman!

Study: Your brain sees things you don’t“Our brains perceive objects in everyday life of which we may never be aware, a study finds, challenging currently accepted models about how the brain processes visual information.”

New evidence on the biological basis of highly impulsive and aggressive behaviors“Physical and chemical changes in the brain during development can potentially play a role in some delinquent and deviant behaviors.”

Root of maths genius sought“Entrepreneur’s ‘Project Einstein’ taps 400 top academics for their DNA.”

Has a 15-year-old explained the Flynn Effect? – on elijah amstrong and michael woodley’s newly published paper! – from steve sailer.

Is young Woodley down for the count? – never! (^_^) – from dr. james thompson.

Religions of the American Nations“[T]hese differences [regional cultural and political divisions in america] stem from the *genetic* differences in the descendants of these initial settlers (suffused with the genes of subsequent immigrants, particularly in the old North).” – from jayman.

In Hookups, Inequality Still Reigns“[A] study of 24,000 students at 21 colleges over five years found that about 40 percent of women had an orgasm during their last hookup involving intercourse, while 80 percent of men did.” – h/t john durant!

The Co-Villains Behind Obesity’s Rise“Not everyone, however, has the same gut bacteria. And, interestingly, the composition of this bacteria correlates with obesity…. [T]he bacteria study found that the ‘obese gut bacteria’ had an impact only when the mice were fed diets heavy in saturated fats.” – h/t jayman!

Rich Chinese Couples Turning To American Surrogates For Easier Immigration And ‘Designer Babies’“Another factor that has some Chinese couples choosing American surrogates is a desire for ‘designer babies.’ While most couples still use their own eggs and sperm, making the child biologically theirs, Reuters reports that more and more people are open to egg donation, to get what some clients believe are smarter and better-looking children. ‘Lots of clients that are Chinese do use tall, blond donors,’ Jennifer Garcia, who works at Extraordinary Conception in California, where 40 percent of clients are Chinese, said in the report.” – h/t mark krikorian!

CRISPR gene therapy: Scientists call for more public debate around breakthrough technique“‘I’m sure there will be some concern about the possibility that the technology could be used for “enhancement” rather than repair, veering from medicine towards eugenics,’ [professor wells] warned.” – oh noes! not “enhancement”! *swoon!* h/t anatoly!

Should state education be abolished?“New York City adopting Finland’s education system is not going to make New York like Finland…. In the game of life the dice are loaded and trying to make teachers responsible for making life fair is deluded and unfair to them….” – from ed west.

Shaker Heights – from greg cochran.

John Derbyshire’s Modest Proposal On Politics and Intelligence“And the too-dumb-to-vote segment is only a part of the problem we conservatives have with universal suffrage. Here’s another part: too *smart* to vote…. At the very highest levels of intelligence, the correlation between IQ and sensible political opinions may actually be *inverse*: the more brilliant you are, the dumber your politics. Albert Einstein thought well of Stalin; Hitlerism got its first mass following in the highly-selective German universities.”

Amid austerity and debt, Denmark remains happiest nation“The second pillar of happiness is a high level of trust between people, even for a stranger on the street….” – crazy danes! (~_^)

Introducing the Mongol Project“‘I will now tell you all about the Tartars and how they acquired their empire and spread throughout the world.’” – excellent! – from t.greer.

Early uses of chili peppers in Mexico“Chili peppers may have been used to make spicy beverages thousands of years ago in Mexico….”

Case of Insect Interruptus Yields a Rare Fossil Find“[T]he oldest fossil of two insects copulating.” – 165 million years old!

This Is How Much Money You’ll Make Based on Your Personality – d*mn. =/

bonus: Another Word for “Holocaust”“[O]ne would have to be smoking banana peels dipped in formaldehyde and sprinkled with PCP to assert that both events [the holocaust and the holodomor] receive a similar amount of attention in Western media and academia.” – from jim goad. of course.

bonus bonus: Swedish cinemas launch feminist movie rating – hahahahahaha!!! heh. wait. (*hbd chick wipes tears from eyes*) heh. – “To get an ‘A’ rating, a movie must pass the so-called Bechdel test, which means it must have at least two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man….” – hahahahahaha!! – “The entire ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, all ‘Star Wars’ movies, ‘The Social Network,’ ‘Pulp Fiction’ and all but one of the ‘Harry Potter’ movies fail this test,” – so, except for The Social Network, all of my faves. this is going to be a REALLY handy movie rating system. whatever movies they FAIL, i will go see! (^_^)

bonus bonus bonus: Strange Doings on the Sun“Sunspots, Which Can Harm Electronics on Earth, Are Half the Number Expected” – ruh roh.

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Large magma reservoir gets bigger – ruh roh.

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: This amazing fruit fly evolved to have pictures of ants on its wings – srsly! – h/t jayman!

(note: comments do not require an email. rupee – first dog to climb mt. everest. woof!)

john derbyshire has a blog post up @vdare — Aztecs and Hidalgos: Are Upper-Class Hispanics Importing Their Own Peons? — in which he points out that an awful lot of the u.s.’s pro-amnesty leaders are (genuine) white-hispanics — in other words, they appear to be of mostly european extraction — while on the other hand the vast majority of immigrants we get from mexico are actually mestizos or indios — or, as john dubs them, “aztecs” (over which some ninnies have pointed and sputtered, apparently).

which got me to wondering — again — who are our mexicans? are they really the descendents of/partly descended from the aztecs or what? pre-columbian mexico was very multi-cultural (lucky them!), so which mexicans are actually coming to the u.s. these days?

i’m going to try to get at that by examining which regions of mexico our mexican immigrants come from. that, obviously, will just leave us with a guesstimate of which sub-groups of mexicans are coming to the u.s., but until we get full genomic sequencing done on all immigrants entering the country, it’s the best i can do. i don’t know from which parts of mexico immigrants in past decades hailed, so perhaps a lot of them were/are indeed of aztec descent, but thanks to the mexican government’s consejo nacional de población (conapo), we do know where our most recent mexican immigrants are coming from today (2010).

before i post a couple of neat maps from conapo, let me mention again a couple of facts that most you are probably already aware of: 1) most mexicans are mestizos, i.e. of mixed indio and european heritage, 2) most mexican mestizos are more indio than they are european, and 3) the further south you go in mexico, the more indio the mestizos are [pdf].

ok. a couple of maps taken from here (specifically here [pdf] — click on maps for LARGER views)…

grades of the intensity of emigration to the u.s. by federal district, 2010 [names of four hottest districts added by me]:

immigration from mexico by federal district - 2010b

and grades of the intensity of emigration to the u.s. by municipality, 2010:

immigration from mexico by municipality - 2010

as you can see on the first map, four federal districts in mexico have “muy alto” (very high) emigration to the u.s.: michoacán, zacatecas, guanajuato, and nayarit. michoacán is the furthest to the south with guanajuato following, so presumably the mestizos from these regions are more indio than those from the other two regions. judging by the map of immigration from municipalities, the greatest numbers of immigrants come from zacatecas and guanajuato.

so who are these people? who were their ancestors?

the zacatecos were one of the groups referred to by the aztecs as chichimecas or “barbarians.” i’m not sure whether or not they spoke a language related to aztec, or were related to the aztecs, but they certainly were not a part of the settled aztec civilization. the zacatecos were nomadic hunter-gatherers and were reportedly expert archers. these are some of the peoples who gave the spaniards a run for their money in the chichimeca war with their armor-piercing arrows. cool!

from Soldiers, Indians, and Silver: The Northward Advance of New Spain, 1550-1600 [pgs. 39, 46-48]:

“The Zacatecos, tribesmen closest to most of the new silver mines, were the fourth nation of this Gran Chichimeca. They overlapped the land of the Guachichiles east and north of Zacatecas; they extended westward to border on the Tepehuanes near Durango; and they roamed as far north as Cuencame and Parras, where they touched upon the Irritilas or Laguna tribes. The Zacatecos were mostly nomadic, although a few groups were essentially sedentary. They were brave and bellicose warriors and excellent marksmen. Some Spaniards called them the most valiant and warlike of all the Chichimecas. They were mightily feared by neighboring peoples, especially the Cazcanes, whom they attacked constantly — fifty Zacatecos were known to have successfully raided a Cazcan pueblo of as many as three or four thousand inhabitants….

“The general way of life throughout this Gran Chichimeca varied little from tribe to tribe and from nation to nation. Contemporary descriptions of the customs and characteristics of the Chichimecas seldom noted important variations between one grouping and another….

“In hand-to-hand combat, the Chichimeca warrior gained, among other Indians and Spaniards, a reputation for courage and ferocity…. In fighting other Indians (Mexicans, Tarascans, Cazcanes), part of his courage could be accounted for by the contempt he felt for the tribes that had adopted the ways of the white man. And, as already implied, the Chichimeca came to have a lesser respect for the Spaniard himself as the Indian raids went unpunished….

“[H]is contact with Spanish military practice also led the Chichimeca to take more practical measures to assure success in fighting. He sent spies into Spanish-Indian towns for appraisal of the enemy’s plans and strength; he developed a far-flung system of lookouts and scouts (*atalayas*); and, in major attacks, settlements were softened by preliminary and apparently systematic killing and stealing of horses and other livestock, this being an attempt, sometimes successful, to change his intended victim from horseman to foot soldier.

“When the Chichimeca was attacked in his mountainous or other naturally protected stronghold or hideout, he usually put up vigorous resistance, especially if unable to escape onslaught. In such cases he fought — with arrows, clubs, or even rocks — behind natural barriers (or in caves) that had sometimes been made stronger by his own hands and ingenuity. Even the women might take up the fight, using the weapons of fallen braves….

“The high degree of Chichimeca accuracy with bow and arrow called forth much respectful and awed comment from his Spanish enemy. ‘On one occasion I saw them throw an orange into the air, and they shot into it so many arrows that, having held it in the air for much time, it finally fell in minute pieces.’ ‘In the opinion of men experienced in foreign lands, the Zacatecos are the best archers in the world.’ ‘They kill hares which, even though running, they pierce with arrows; also deer, birds, and other little animals of the land, not even overlooking rats … and they fish with the bow and arrow.’ Children of the Chichimecas were taught the use of the bow from the time they could walk, and they practiced by shooting at insects and the smallest animals.

“The forces and penetrating power of the Chichimeca arrow was always a puzzle to Spaniards, particularly in view of the extreme thinness of the arrow shaft. ‘It has happened that, in a fight between some soldiers, and some Chichimeca Indians, an arrow hit one soldier’s powder flask [of wood, usually], passed completely through it, then penetrated his armor, consisting of eleven thicknesses of buckskin (*gamuza*), a coat of mail, a doublet, and the soldier was wounded by said arrow.’ ‘It has happened that an arrow hit a horse on which a soldier was fighting and the arrow passed through the horse’s crownpiece (which consisted of a very strong leather and metal piece), his head, and came out through the neck and entered the chest, a thing which, if were not known to be certain, seems incredible.’ ‘One of don Alonso de Castilla’s soldiers had an arrow pass through the head of his horse, including a crownpiece of doubled buckskin and metal, and into his chest, so he fell with the horse dead on the ground — this was seen by many who are still living.’

“The Chichimeca bow was about two-thirds as long as the average body, reaching approximately from head to knee; it was probably made of such materials as cottonwood, willow, mesquite, *bois d’arc*, or juniper — woods that could be found in the area. The arrow, about two-thirds as long as the bow, was very thin, usually made of reed and usually with an obsidian tip, which was fastened to the shaft by human sinews or animal tendons. Shortness of bow, thinness of arrow, and the conchoidal edge of the obsidian combined to achieve a penetration the Spaniards could hardly believe. The fact that the Chichimeca arrow found its way through all but the closest-woven mail was a factor in the increasing Spanish use of buckskin armor on this frontier.”

iwitbb**: “Mexico’s National Population Council estimates that 600,000 natives of Zacatecas now live in the United States, a figure that is equivalent to 40 percent of the state’s resident population of 1.5 million. If the base population is supplemented by the number of children and grandchildren who have been born in the United States, the total number of Mexicans and Mexican Americans of ‘zacatecano’ origin living in the United States exceeds the number of people who reside in the state.”

so we’re not short of people from zacatecas.
_____

most of the peoples of guanajuato were also some of these nomadic chichimeca folks. a lot of them were guamares, but the zacatecos were also present along with other hunter-gatherer chichimeca groups. like zacatecas, guanajuato was never a part of the aztec empire either. nor was it a part of another neighboring empire, the tarascan state which was run by the purépecha people (see section on michoacán below), although the areas of guanajuato that were adjacent to the tarascan state were influenced culturally by that state.

so the probable ancestors of many of the people from the two mexican regions from which the u.s. today receives the most migrants were nomadic hunter-gatherers with a warrior streak. right up until 1590 (the end of the chichimeca war), or just ca. 20 generations ago (counting a generation as roughly 20 years).

[edit: see also this comment.]
_____

the pre-columbian michoacán area was inhabited by several different groups, but the ones that really left their mark were the purépecha people with their tarascan state. they were never conquered by the aztecs, and they built a really neat city of their own — tzintzuntzan — replete with some of those very fashionable (back in the day) latin american pyramids. interestingly, the purépecha language is not related to any of the neighboring languages of the region.

from Prehistoric Mesoamerica [pgs. 324-325, 329]:

“The Tarascan state occupied about 65,000 square kilometers (25,000 square miles) and included within its boundaries various ethnic and linguistic groups. Thus, it fulfills the formal qualifications required of an imperial system. The ‘Relacion de Michoacan’ relates that the Tarascans were ruled by a priest-king-god who governed a large political unit. In terms of area, it seems to have been the largest political unit in Mesoamerica at the time of the Spanish Conquest. The empire was administered by a wide variety of officials who handled matters such as taxes and censuses.

“Although 340 settlements are mentioned by the ‘Relacion de Michoacan’, only four of them qualified as cities, and they were located within the Lako Patzcuaro basin. The largest was the capital of Tzintzuntzan, which had been founded about A.D. 1000 as a center for the worship of two important deities. By 1350, the center had been transformed into an urban area sprawling along the lake shore, with a population of between twenty-five thousand and thirty-five thousand people. Archaeological survey has detected four districts that are the probable residence zones for four classes: upper and lower elite, commoners, and ethnic foreigners. Wards (barrios) for the various social and occupation groups survived in modern Tzintzuntzan into the twentieth century….

“The settlement pattern of the Tarascans was essentially rural, however, and most people lived in hamlets, villages, and towns….

“War was waged after the harvest was in, in good Mesoamerican manner. Spies (perhaps *pochtecas*) were employed for intelligence purposes. The Tarascans resisted the Aztec with a chain of fortified cities and with a professional army.”

so a more civilized group of peoples down in michoacán.
_____

i didn’t have as much luck in finding out about the historic population(s) of nayarit — there doesn’t seem to be much info out there — not in english anyway. some nahua peoples (the aztecs are a nahua people) were there at some point and apparently built one small-sized city anyway. according to the wikipedia page for nayarit in spanish, the majority of the populace in nayarit today are the huichol people followed by the cora and also some nahual folks.

the huichol:

“…usually marry between the ages of fourteen and seventeen. Extended Huichol families live together in rancho settlements. These small communities consist of individual houses which belong to a nuclear family. Each settlement has a communal kitchen and the family shrine, called a xiriki, which is dedicated to the ancestors of the rancho. The buildings surround a central patio. The individual houses are traditionally built of stone or adobe with grass-thatched roofs.

“A district of related ranchos is known as a temple district. Temple districts are all members of a larger community district. Each community district is ruled by a council of kawiterutsixi, elder men who are usually also shamans.”

(*cough*)clannish.(*cough*)

even more cool, re. the cora people:

“In the early 18th century they were an anomaly in that they had never permitted Catholic missionaries to live in their country. They had become a pagan island in a sea of Christian Indians and Hispanic culture. In 1716, a Spanish expedition to attempt to bring the Cora under Spanish control failed. However, in 1722, the Spanish returned in force and the Cora yielded. According to Spanish accounts many of them became Christian and practice, up until the present, ‘Catholic-derived customs.’”
_____

so the descendents of some or all of these groups probably represent a large segment of mexicans coming to the u.s. right now.

what i think we should be asking ourselves — apart from why?? — is what are these different mexicans likely to be like given their (natural) histories? we’ve got a mix of peoples here ranging from the descendents of nomadic hunter-gatherer warriors to currently settled but isolated indios to the descendents of more civilized agricultural populations. so what sorts of selection pressures were the ancestors of all these mexican groups under for, say, the last one to two thousand years? what sorts of mating patterns/family types/social structures did these peoples’ ancestors have that might’ve affected the selection pressures on those populations?

who are our mexicans?
_____

**iwitbb = if wikipedia is to be believed.

(note: comments do not require an email. huichol lady.)

**update: correction to post (about halfway down) – see also comments. thanks, matt!

check this out! [some excerpts from the paper]:

“A slow life history is related to a negative attitude towards cousin marriages: A study in three ethnic groups in Mexico”

“The sample consisted of 205 respondents from three rural ethnic groups. Half of the sample (51%, n = 103) were indigenous Mixtecs, 17% (n = 35) were Blacks, and 32% (n = 65) were Mestizos (for two participants the ethnic background was unknown). A large majority (94%) was Roman Catholic. There were about equal numbers of males (n= 100), and females (n= 105), and the sexes were nearly equally distributed over the three ethnic groups. The mean age in the sample was for women M = 44.79 (SD = 8.09), and for men = 49.85 (SD = 9.91). For the following percentages, because of rounding off and missing values, the total percentage is sometimes different from 100%. Most women (90%) were homemakers, 5% had a profession, and 6% indicated not to have a profession. Of the men, the large majority (74%) were farmers, 10% were fishermen, 16% had a variety of other professions, and 2% indicated to have no profession….

“The questionnaire consisted of 9 items, 4 of which expressed a negative, and 5 of which expressed a positive consequence of marrying a cousin. At the beginning of the questionnaire, participants were presented with the statement ‘Marrying a cousin….’ Then the 9 items followed. The five positive statements included 1) means that you marry someone with the same values; 2) enhances the unity in the family; 3) keeps wealth in the family; 4) makes it easier to get along with your spouse; 5) makes your marriage more stable. The four negative statements included: 1) may lead to children having a high risk of defects; 2) is wrong for religious reasons; 4) leads to family conflict; 5) leads to a relationship without passion. Participants were asked to indicate on a scale from 1 (extremely disagree) to 5 (extremely agree) how much they were in agreement with the 9 statements….

life history and cousin marriage - table 01

“A closer look at the participants’ ratings of the statements (Table 1) reveals that participants reported to be in the least agreement with most positive statements; on average, they disagreed that marrying a cousin would enhance the unity in the family, would keep wealth in the family, or would make it easier to get along with one’s spouse. On average, participants were neutral with respect to the statement that marrying a cousin would mean that you would marry someone with the same values. They were on average most, and very much, in agreement with the statement that marrying a cousin is wrong for religious reasons, nearly as much with the statement that marrying a cousin leads to family conflict, and somewhat less with the statement that marrying a cousin would lead to relationship without passion. It is noteworthy that the notion that a marriage with a cousin would result in children with a higher risk of mental and physical defects was considered relatively unimportant….

Overall, as predicted, with increasing levels of a slow life history strategy, the attitude towards marrying a cousin was more negative, β = -.30, t (189) = 4.24, p <.001. Separate analyses within the three ethnic groups showed that this was especially true for the Mixtecs, β = -.30, t (95) = 3.14, p = .002, and the Blacks, β = -.35, t (29) = 4.30, p < .001, but not at all for the Mestizos, β = -.07, t (59) = .57, p = .57….

The results demonstrate that participants overall had a negative attitude to marrying a cousin, and that the three ethnic groups did not differ in this respect. Unlike what is often assumed, the main objection against marrying a cousin was that it is wrong for religious reasons, and the risk of genetic defects of children born out of such marriages was considered relatively unimportant. In line with this, we found that, albeit only among men, marrying a cousin was viewed more negatively the more religious one was. Cousin marriage was neither considered to contribute to the quality or unity of marriage and the family. These findings may suggest that the attitudes towards such marriages differ from those in Western cultures where especially the risk of genetic defects of offspring is considered important (Ottenheimer, 1996), as well as from those in Eastern populations where cousin marriages are considered to preserve the unity of the clan and the family (cf. Jaber et al., 1996). Furthermore, as predicted, we found a sex difference with women having overall a considerably more negative attitude towards cousin marriage than men. This is in line with parental investment theory (Trivers, 1972). Since females invest the most in conception, birth and postnatal care, investing in a potentially unviable offspring is extremely costly. Therefore, women may be more concerned that marrying a cousin leads to children that have a higher risk of being mentally and physically handicapped….

Our findings clearly suggest that especially in this population, more negative attitudes towards cousin marriages do reflect primarily a slow life history strategy, characterized by typical features such as good executive functions, positive relationships with one’s parents, low mating effort, lower levels of risk taking, higher levels of foresight and planning, and more persistence and self-directedness. Individuals with this type of strategy do seem to be relatively less inclined to run the risk of having offspring with genetic defects because of mating with kin. From a theoretical point of view this slow life history strategy maximizes long-term reproductive success (e.g., Figueredo et al., 2006; Kaplan and Gangestad, 2005) by having fewer, high quality, offspring rather than having numerous lesser quality offspring, whose reproductive success depends more on luck….

“While we did not find differences between the ethnic groups in their attitudes towards cousin marriage, the effect of life history strategy was not only apparent among the Mixtecs, but also among the Blacks. However, it was not found among the Mestizos….

An additional finding was that, overall, those who approved of controlling the mate choice of their offspring had a more positive, or less negative, attitude towards cousin marriage. This suggests that, as expected, in general, fostering marriages with cousins may be the ultimate consequence of the preference to control the mate choice of one’s offspring by selecting in-group members as mates for one´s offspring. Indeed, a plethora of studies shows that in a wide variety of cultures, a major concern of parents is that the mate of their offspring comes from the same group (e.g., Buunk et al., 2008). A prime example of this are the various Islamic cultures such as Iran and Saudi Arabia where parents determine to an important extent whom their offspring marries, and where cousin marriages are very common (Jaber et al., 1996). One of the benefits of having one’s offspring marry a cousin is that family and clan alliances are strengthened, and loyalty from one’s son and daughter-in-law better safeguarded.”
_____

so, buunk and hoben seem to have found that:

- individuals with slow life histories (the individuals formerly known as the K-selection people) tend to avoid cousin marriage whereas those with fast life histories (or the r-selection people) really don’t care one way or the other
- women want to avoid cousin marriage more than men (at least in mexico)
- mixtecs and blacks (slow life history) mestizos in mexico are less squeamish about cousin marriage than mestizos (slow life history) mixtecs and blacks
- all three of these groups generally avoid cousin marriage on religious grounds (the vast majority being roman catholic).

neat!

nowadays, the cousin marriage rates in mexico are very low — last time anybody checked (in the 1960s) the average rate across the country was 1.3% [pdf]. that’s loooow.

i haven’t yet looked much into the histories of mating patterns in mexico — and i haven’t looked at all at the mixtecs — mostly the mayans (see here and here for example). but if the mixtecs were anything like other pre-columbian, pre-christian latin american populations — the mayans or the aztecs or the taino in the caribbean — then they probably favored some sort of cousin marriage. i don’t know that for sure or not — i’ll let you know if and when i find out.

in fact, it’s likely that the roman catholic church dropped the prohibitions against cousin marriage beyond the first cousin limit for mexicans as early as 1537, which is ca. 400 years before the cousin marriage ban went to only first cousins for europeans. (i still have to check if this 1537 change was just for south americans or for all of latin america.) if this is correct, then mexicans have really only experienced a first cousin marriage ban since they converted to christianity in the 1500s+, rather than the second, third, and even sixth cousin marriage bans that europeans were subjected to starting in the 500s (or ca. 800s in more northerly parts of europe … or post ca. 1500 if you’re irish (~_^) ). in other words, europeans have probably been outbreeding more and for a longer period of time than most mexicans.

i’m not sure when mexicans started taking the church’s cousin marriage ban seriously. they had a habit of marrying very locally (i.e. in the barrio) right up until at least the 1950s (see here), so that could, of course, mean that they were marrying second and third cousins, etc., at least up until that point. mayan villages are typified by lattice networks of genetic connections between their residents — i don’t know if this applies to the mixtecs (or any other sub-populations of mexicans) as well, but i wouldn’t be surprised if it does.

buunk and hoben say: “Unlike what is often assumed, the main objection against marrying a cousin was that it is wrong for religious reasons, and the risk of genetic defects of children born out of such marriages was considered relatively unimportant…. These findings may suggest that the attitudes towards such marriages differ from those in Western cultures where especially the risk of genetic defects of offspring is considered important (Ottenheimer, 1996)….”

yes, buuuut — if you go back just two hundred years in europe, the reasons westerners avoided cousin marriage were almost purely religious. definitely if you go back to the medieval period. almost the entire reason for all of the outbreeding in the west is related to religious belief (conversion to christianity), although the secular powers that be also got involved. the concern about genetic/health defects really only started in darwin’s time (having said that, at least some people in late antiquity were aware of the health effects of too much inbreeding, too). so these differences are really just historic ones. westerners used to avoid cousin marriage for religious reasons, but now for many there’s just an automatic ewwww reaction, so official cousin marriage bans are almost not needed any longer.

this is some really neat research and a very cool paper! (^_^)

the only criticism i can level at the researchers is their apparent lack of awareness of the history of mating patterns in europe (don’t they read this blog?! (~_^) ). for instance, they said in the paper:

“For example, according to Kuper (2002), marriage between cousins was permitted in ancient Israel and was practiced in classic Greece and Rome. Although in the 4th century, Emperor Theodosius I introduced a ban on marriage between cousins, this practice continued and among the people attitudes were generally more or less neutral. Much more recently, in the 18th and 19th century in England, cousin marriages became increasingly accepted in especially the higher classes. Up until the middle of the 19th century, cousin marriage was permitted in the United States, and in many European countries. However, since the 19th century attitudes towards cousin marriage in the Western world began to change drastically. The main reason for this was that the progeny of cousins were believed to be inflicted with genetic defects and poor breeding, resulted in delays in progress within society (see e.g., Bittles and Neel, 1994).”

uh … no. they need to have a look at a couple of sources like goody or mitterauer or ausenda. or the “mating patterns in europe series” below ↓ in the left-hand column. (~_^)
_____

bonus: anonymous conservative has written a lot about r/K selection theory wrt politics — make sure to check out his website!

previously: mating patterns in colonial mexico: the mayans and mating patterns in colonial mexico: yucatec maya population size and structural endogamy and assimliation is a two-way street (or why endogamy means mexicans will find it hard to become middle-class anglos)

(note: comments do not require an email. i’m a lumberjack, and i’m ok!)

i thought i’d dip into the world values survey again to see what mexicans think/feel about certain behavioral norms/illegal activities in society as compared to americans (both white and black).

we’ve seen before that mexicans of all colors are less civic-minded than white americans, and that mexicans are more extended-family oriented than white americans (see also here). but what do mexicans think about the breaking of certain laws in society? how justifiable do they feel certain actions might be?

i looked at the world values survey 2005 and 2006 for the u.s. and mexico (you can read all about the two surveys in the technical reports here — they appear to be sound surveys to me). what i looked at were four of the “justifiable” questions:

Please tell me for each of the following statements whether you think it can always be justified, never be justified, or something in between [on a scale from 1 to 10, never to always]:

- Claiming government benefits to which you are not entitled.
- Avoiding a fare on public transport.
- Cheating on taxes if you have a chance.
- Someone accepting a bribe in the course of their duties.

here are the results of those who answered “Never justifiable” by sub-population for each of the questions. moreno oscuro=dark mestizo, moreno claro=light mestizo. i left out the indigenous group in mexico because the sample size was too small. the sample sizes are n=ca. 130-830.

- Claiming government benefits to which you are not entitled. – Never justifiable.

wvs - 2005 2006 - mexico & u.s. - justifiable - government benefits

so only ca. 30-40% of mexicans (depending on their skin color) think that claiming gov’t benefits to which one is not entitled is never justifiable. otoh, nearly 70% of white americans think such a behavior is never justifiable.

- Avoiding a fare on public transport. – Never justifiable.

wvs - 2005 2006 - mexico & u.s. - justifiable - avoiding fare

again, a ten to twenty point difference between the various mexican sub-groups and white americans.

- Cheating on taxes if you have a chance. – Never justfiable.

wvs - 2005 2006 - mexico & u.s. - justifiable - cheating on taxes

the ranges are closer wrt cheating on taxes, but still, more white americans feel it’s never justifiable than these three various groups of mexicans.

- Someone accepting a bribe in the course of their duties. – Never justifiable.

wvs - 2005 2006 - mexico & u.s. - justifiable - accepting a bribe

again, at least a ten, if not twenty, point spread between when it comes to thinking bribe taking can be justifiable.

it seems, then, that most mexicans — from white mexicans to dark-skinned mestizos (don’t know about the purely indigenous groups) — more ofen than white americans, feel that various types of cheating in society can be justified to some degree or another.

previously: civicness in mexico and familism in the u.s. of a. and anglo-american vs. mexican family values and hispanic family values

(note: comments do not require an email. likelihood of bribing mexican traffic police.)

well, this is interesting. checking the world values survey for the “civicness” questions results for mexico (2005), it seems that, in mexico, the most civic people are those that are more indio, while whites are generally the least civic. it’s not the strongest of patterns, but i do think it’s there.

the sample sizes for the “indigenous” group are too small, but i included them anyway ’cause they’re such an interesting group. keep in mind when looking at the table and graphs, though, that the numbers for that group are prolly not representative. still, they do seem to fall in line with the general pattern of: more indio=more civic >> less indio=less civic.

here’s a table for ya (click on image for LARGER view):

the average scores for mexico in total are lower than those for white americans in all of the categories except for church going and sport/recreation (gooooaaaallll!). the number of active members of labor unions is slightly higher in mexico than amongst white americans. the number of active members in a political party amongst whites in the u.s is almost double that of mexicans. (mexicans are more active in political parties than the chinese in vancouver, though!)

similarly, the average scores for whites in mexico are generally lower than those for white americans except, again, for church going and sport/recreation. again, the number of active members in a political party amongst whites in the u.s. is almost double that of whites in mexico. the art/music/education scores in the two groups are pretty close.

if the internet is telling the truth, most of the early spanish settlers in mexico came from andalusia and extremadura, which were both, of course, a part of al-andalus in the medieval period during which time the local population picked up on the cousin-marrying practices of the arab conquerers — at least in andalusia they did anyway. in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, spanish immigrants to the new world came from places like galicia and asturias. not sure what the long-term mating practices in those places have been, but i suspect a history of close marriages in galicia. don’t quote me on that though. the point being that, in general, the spanish settlers in mexico didn’t have the outbreeding history of the anglos further north in the americas.

hispanics in the u.s. — who are not all mexicans, of course — score higher than mexicans on being active members in: church/religious organizations, labor unions and, mostly notably, political parties (12.40% for hispanics in the u.s. versus 9.70% in mexico). the rest of the scores are lower for hispanics in the u.s. than for mexicans in mexico. i’ll have to try to see if i can work out the scores for the different hispanic groups in the u.s. (mexican vs. puerto rican for instance).

enough talk. here are some charts comparing the civicness of the different groups in mexico. i threw in white americans, too, to make it interesting (click on graphs for LARGER views):

previously: civic societies and civic societies ii and civicness in the u.s. by race and la endogamia en la españa medieval

(note: comments do not require an email. gene autry.)

here we go. from Maya Society under Colonial Rule: The Collective Enterprise of Survival [pg. 59], three sets of yucatec maya population size estimates/educated guesstimates (take your pick!) for the colonial period (click on chart for LARGER view):

i thought i could combine these numbers with restall’s info on mayan family/mating patterns, which are based upon census and testamentary records, and see, maybe, just how close the mating patterns were amongst the colonial maya. here’s what restall had to say:

- there were a total of 270 patronym groups (chibalob) in the yucatan living in 200 communities (cah).
- a typical cah would have had 30-40 patronym groups in it.
- a typical family would have marriage alliances with four or five other patronym groups.
- people generally didn’t marry outside of their cah (village, barrio, community).

you had to marry outside your patronym group, and it’s likely that a good number of marriages were between maternal cousins (i know – i haven’t posted about this yet – sorry!). it was probably the preferred form of marriage anyway, although that doesn’t mean that everyone married a maternal cousin.

how many individuals are typically of reproductive age in any given society? were in colonial maya society? i have no idea. let’s assume — and this probably wasn’t true — but let’s assume that they had a stable population — not expanding, not contracting (just for the sake of argument). if we divy up the population’s age cohorts by five — 0-5, 5-10, 10-15, etc. — going up to, let’s say, age 70, we’ve got 21.4% of the population in the 10-25 marrying age range. (the colonial maya weren’t polygamous, btw — the pre-columbian aztecs were though.)

so — 200,000 maya in 270 patronym groups = ca. 740 individuals in each patronym group. 21.4% of that gives you ca. 158 people of reproductive age per patronym group. an equal number of men and women? maybe, maybe not — but let’s say yes, so that’s ca. 79 reproductive men and women per each patronym group. and your patronym group was connected to something like five others according to restall, so that’s a potential 395 individuals you could marry. sounds pretty good!

but remember, the maya usually didn’t marry outside their cah. that’s 200,000 people across 200 cah, so 1,000 people in each cah. divided between 30-40 patronym groups — let’s call it 35 — so 28-29 individuals in each patronym group in each cah. 21.4% of those are in the marriage age range = six individuals (three men, three women). times the five patronym groups that your patronym group is allied to leaves you with just 15 possible spouses for you to choose from. that’s a pretty narrow range. generation after generation.

and chances are, people would’ve married one of their maternal cousins anyway.

colonial yucatec maya marriage patterns, over a three-hundred or so year period (1550-1850), were probably either quite inbred and/or very endogamous.

previously: mating patterns in colonial mexico: the mayans

(note: comments do not require an email. yucatec maya gentleman. (^_^) )

i thought i’d start looking at the mating patterns of mexicans. it’s a tall order, i feel, ’cause there are/were lots of different groups of native mexicans: mayans, aztecs (guess we’re supposed to call them nahuas now), zapotecs, mixtecs, and so on and so forth. *whew!* well, may as well get started…

mexicans, today, don’t marry their cousins much (they’re good catholics i guess) — 0.3%-1.3% cousin marriage rates were recorded in the 1960s [pgs. 1-2, pdf]. during the 1500s through the 1800s, the general pattern, i think, was very local endogamy — marriage within what the spanish would call el barrio — and for some groups, like the mayans, regular, repeated marriages between a handful of clans. interestingly, local marriage (within the barrio) still happened at least in some places in 1960s mexico (see The Barrios of San Andreas Cholula, pg. 65+ – i’ll come back to this in a future post) — old habits die hard i suppose.

some groups in colonial mexico seem to have allowed cousin marriage, but not necessarily to have preferred it. there are good indications that the mayans preferred cross-cousin marriage, but i’ll come back to that in yet another future post. right now, the mating patterns/family types of the yucatec mayans during the colonial period.

if the uplanders vs. lowlanders theory is correct, a h*ckuva lot of mexicans ought to have been inbreeders. the mayans living waaay out on the yucatan peninsula should have practiced more outbreeding compared to other mexican populations though, unless they just did what their mayan brethren living further to the southwest (and, therefore, further upland) did:

here’s the mayan territory in dark beige (those are the aztecs nahuas in mint green):

the mayans lived together in extended family groupings, each nuclear family in its own house, with the extended family sharing house-plots and farmland (if they were farmers). what later became known as the barrios — the hamlets or small towns comprised of these extended family house-plots — were called “cah” by the mayans. every extended family was part of a larger patrilineage or patronym group known as a chibal (pl. chibalob). reminiscent of china, you could not marry within your patronym in mayan society. so, you might, perhaps, marry cousins/other relatives on your mother’s side, but not on your father’s (all children took their father’s patronym).

from The Maya World: Yucatec Culture and Society, 1550-1850 [pgs. 17, 92]:

“Within a given cah, members of a chibal — those of the same patronym — formed a kind of extended family, most of whose members seem to have pusued their common interest wherever possible through political factionalism, the acquisition and safeguarding of land, and the creation of marriage-based alliances with other chibalob of similar or higher socioeconomic status. Such marriages were in part necessary because chibalob were exogamous, a principle that seems to have been applied across cah lines, although after the conquest there was no formal organization of chibal members beyond the cah level. Chibalob were closer to exogamous clans than to lineages, bearing similarities to both, although the Maya term more accurately reflects their particular combination of characteristics….

“The maintenance of the Maya taboo on intrachibal marriage reflects the maintenance of the practice of interchibal marital alliance, which created multi-chibal households. The combination of these households was a cah-wide network of chibal interest-groups. The effect was to help perpetuate the class system, since chibal interest groups tended to consist of families at similar socioeconomic levels.”
_____

from The Ties That Bind: Social Cohesion and the Yucatec Maya Family we get some potentially useful population numbers (which i am too tired to think about tonight) [pgs. 363-365]:

“I have noted about 270 patronym-groups in the colonial record, represented in documentation that has survived from almost all of the approximately 200 Maya communites in the province….

Community endogamy is suggested by testamentary evidence from Ixil, where every single one of sixty-eight couples living in the early eighteenth century represented community-endogamous marriages (sixty-six of them, or 97 percent, were natives of Ixil, the remaining two couples having married fellow community members elsewhere and subsequently moving to Ixil). This data contrasts somewhat with evidence from a tribute census of 1721 and that of late-colonial parish registers. The 1721 census show that eighteen of twenty-one communities in one region of the province contained residents born in another community, although they were a definite minority (of these twenty-one communities, half contained between zero and 12 percent of adults born in another community, and the rest had up to 32 percent nonnative adults, with one community showing a figure of 57 percent). Parish records show that while community exogamy was substantial in certain communities, it was neither a widespread nor a random phenomenon, nor did it represent a gradual migration from small communities, to regional centers, to Merida; rather, it was restricted to certain communities that maintained strong ties with a small number of other communities (Sotuta with Teabo and Tiho, for example, and Tecoh, Ticul, and Homun with one particular community within Tiho, San Sebastian). I would argue, therefore, that while data on migration and marriage reveals a wide range of individual community variants, community endogamy was the norm; in the vast majority of communities, the majority of the population married fellow residents, while a minority was subject to migration and marriage patterns that were usually community distinct….”

“Patronym-group clustering meant that a small proportion of the total number of patronyms were represented in any given community…. [A] typical family living in a modest-size community would be familiar with thirty to forty local patronyms — and would also be related to half a dozen or more of them.

“As patronym-groups were exogamous, the family members on a typical house-plot would not all hold the same patronym; women retained their patronyms after marriage, although children took their fathers’ surnames. As children married and some stayed on the house-plot, more patronym-groups would become represented in the household complex. The multipatronym nature of the household might suggest that the latter was more important than patronym-group organization, and that no doubt would have been the case had love’s whimsical nature been the sole factor in marriage choice. However, where the documentary sources are dense enough, visible patronym-related patterns reveal the organization significance of marriage decisions.

“For example, the 1570 Cozumel census and the collections of wills from seventeenth-century Cacalchen and eighteenth century Ixil show that families tended to form alliance groups of, typically, four or five coresident patronym-groups of similar socioeconomic standing in the community. The class structure of patronym-groups within a community can be compiled using testamentary information…. In Ixil in the 1760s, for example, there were forty patronym-groups (as recorded in testaments) that can be placed into eight socioeconomic levels; at the top, the circle of marital alliances tightens (eleven patronym-groups comprise four levels of nobility), and at the bottom, it widens considerably, although practices designed to tighten the circle, while still conforming to patronym-groups exogamy — such as preferential bilateral cross-cousin marriage — remain in evidence.

so, again, rather like china, we have handfuls of patronym groups — clans — marrying and re-marrying one another (but outside the patronym) over the course of, at least, at couple of hundred years. the researcher, matthew restall, found around 270 patronyms in 200 mayan communities. i wonder if he’s published any estimated population figures anywhere? from that we could try to work out actual inbreeding rates/patterns! cool.

(note: comments do not require an email. just when you thought it was safe … death to america!)

from the christian science monitor:

“Mexico’s ‘temporary’ marriages: till death – or two years – do us part”

“Mexico City is studying a plan to introduce ‘temporary’ marriage licenses – letting couples choose after two years to split or renew the license for life – in an effort to mitigate the effects of divorce….

“The left-leaning assembly is studying a new initiative to introduce temporary marriage licenses that would expire after two years if the couple so desires.

“The proposal, intended to reduce the bureaucratic costs and emotional toll of divorce, has garnered as many fans as foes: Some see it as a pragmatic alternative, while others, including the Roman Catholic Church, see it as an attack on family values. It comes as Mexico grapples with its own culture war in the world’s second-largest Catholic country.

“‘The centrality of family in Mexico is changing,’ says Norma Ojeda, a sociologist at the San Diego State University who has studied the evolution of marriage in Mexico since the 1970s. ‘That is something that is part of a global social change in many countries.’

“To its authors, the proposal reflects social changes in Mexico City, where they say most divorces occur in the first two years. If after two years, couples decide to until ‘death do us part,’ they can renew their licenses. If not, the proposal specifies how children and property are handled.

“‘The proposal is, when the two-year period is up, if the relationship is not stable or harmonious, the contract simply ends,’ Leonel Luna, the assemblyman who co-wrote the bill, told Reuters. ‘You wouldn’t have to go through the tortuous process of divorce.’”

plenty of societies have or had laws providing for temporary marriages. many muslim societies (primarily shi’a ones?) have a temporary form of marriage known as nikah mut’ah. it can be used as a way of covering up prostitution (“get yer four hour marriages!”), but that’s not the only reason the practice exists.

temporary marriage was also an option amongst the early medieval irish [pg. 302]:

“The adaltrach [one type of wife in early medieval ireland] may not have brought much property at all, since in many cases, the primary intention of the union was merely to achieve social acceptance of a sexual relationship and its progeny. Another goal was to set up a temporary working relationship, in which the man supplied the farm and the woman supplied the labor. Where CL [Cain Lanamna, 'the law of marriage'] discusses spouses who were brought in to live on another’s farm, it emphasized the labor aspect of the spouse’s relationship; this was as true of a man supported on a woman’s farm as it was of a woman supported on a man’s property. CL #28 depicts the woman in this case as keeping half her handiwork, and one-ninth of the milk, corn and bacon produced during the time the couple lived together. The relationship envisaged as likely to end at Beltene, the spring festival of May 1, which was also the time many women traditionally moved with the livestock to the summer pastures. The departing woman was supposed to have ‘a sack (of produce) for every month’ she had spent on the man’s farm.”

the thing is, tho, that no society with temporary marriages ever invented things like science or succeeded with liberal democracy. those seem, for complex reasons, to go along with strong monogamy (not to mention a relatively high iq).

mating practices affect the patterns of genetic relatedness amongst the members in any given society; and those patterns, in turn, affect the historical and evolutionary trajectories of societies.

(note: comments do not require an email. strong monogamy.)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 229 other followers