more on inbreeding and the evolution of altruistic behavior

remember this?:

those are a couple of graphs from wade and breden from when they did some mathematical modelling of the selection for “genes for altruism” under different circumstances (see previous post for more details).

the interesting graph is the bottom one which shows what the frequency of “genes for altruism” in a population would be IF selection was strong and IF the alleles in question were dominant. the gene frequencies are on the y-axis (at 1.0 the genes have reached fixation). the number of generations to get to the various gene frequencies is on the x-axis.

the interesting line on the graph for us is the solid line: those are individuals who are about two-times more related to one another than first-cousins in a randomnly mating population. that’s an exaggeration for most human populations, but it’s the most human-like of all the mating patterns they considered. the others are cloning, sib-mating (ewww!), and total outbreeding. so most human populations would be lower than that solid line, but not flatlining like the total outbreeding example. somewhere in between.

anyway. in my previous post i pointed out that after just 50 generations, there is already an increase in the frequency of “genes for altruism” in the solid line population. however, these models start at zero! in other words, the starting point they’re thinking of is if the populations start off with no “genes for altruism” at all. but that can hardly have ever been the case for any human population since altruistic behaviors are found in almost every living being on the planet!: plants, insects … even slime molds! not to mention our closest cousins, other primates.

so the baseline for the frequency of “genes for altruism” in any human population was probably never zero. who knows where it should be? 30%? 40%? 50%? 80%? i really don’t know. but not zero, anyway.

if we just say it was 50% — just picking an example right out of the hat — then the frequency of “genes for altruism” in the inbreeding solid line population increases much more sharply (i.e. the slope of the line is more slopey) over fifty generations than if we start the population off at zero. (look at the solid line between 0 and 50 generations versus 200 and 250 generations. there’s a much sharper increase in the latter group.)

i’m picking out 50 generation timespans, btw, because — at a very conservative estimate (1 generation=25 years) — arabs have been very closely inbreeding for ca. 56 generations (i.e. since at least mohammed’s days and most likely before).

anyway. that is all. (^_^)

previously: inbreeding and the evolution of altruistic behavior

update 05/30: see also inbreeding and the evolution of altruistic behavior ii

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linkfest – 04/29/12

Ancient DNA from Neolithic Sweden“[I]t seems that ‘leapfrog’ colonization may be responsible for the spread of agriculture and its associated technologies (such as Megalithism) across Europe. In this model, farmers lept from place to place across the landscape intentionally, preserving their gene pool and largely ignoring the pre-existing foragers of the landscape…. In this respect, the colonization of Europe bears some resemblance to the settlement of the Americas by Europeans: it happened by leaps and bounds, and the early waves of explorers and pioneers may have opened the landscape but did not immediately fill it: this happened later as a result of demographic growth and new waves of migration, with the extant populations being differentially descended — in different proportions — from migrants and natives.” – great post from dienekes.

Bones of early American disappear from underwater cave – =/

Gay bashing by race – from the audacious one.

Like baboons, our elected leaders are literally addicted to power“Political power has a similar effect on the brain to cocaine”

The Invisible Borders That Define American Culture

Meet the ancestors – or do you mean cousins?

Higher maternal age predicts risk of autism“[C]hildren of mothers older than 35 years had 30% increased risk for autism.”

bonus: The Basis of a Real Conversation – from john derbyshire.

bonus bonus: Rare Protozoan from Sludge in Norwegian Lake Does Not Fit On Main Branches of Tree of Life“The protozoan is not a fungus, alga, parasite, plant or animal.”

bonus bonus bonus: Astronomers find new planet capable of supporting life – let’s go!

bonus bonus bonus bonus: darwin award candidate – Swiss woman dies after attempting to live on sunlight; Woman gave up food and water on spiritual journey – no, humans are not plants.

(note: comments do not require an email. The Only Thing That Can Stop This Asteroid is Your Liberal Arts Degree.)

historic mating patterns in poland

in case you have noticed, one of the ongoing projects around here is to compile any and all evidence (good evidence) for the historic mating patterns (going back as far as possible) for … heh … EVERYbody on earth! (^_^) should only take, oh, the rest of my days here on the planet. (~_^)

tonight: poland.

below are some notes taken from Marriage Strategies in Poland: Social and Spatial Differences (16th-18th Centuries) [opens pdf]. first, a few summary points:

– during this time period (1500s-1700s), marriages in the upper classes in the city of gdańsk on the baltic coast were arranged and clan relationships were taken into consideration by those making the arrangements. a lot of these people would’ve been immigrants from germany.

– in the city of warsaw in central poland between 1740-1779, most marriages occurred in the local community. since this is a city, however, some amount of the individuals (or their families) were probably immigrants from the countryside. dunno how many. ca. 3% of marriages were mixed catholic-protestant.

– in the town of toruń in north-central poland, marriages from outside the town were rare as well as was migration into the town.

– between 1641 and 1800 in the small town of brzeżany, which today is located in the ukraine, marriages were very local and migration into the town was rare. most marriages were between members of the same faith (catholic or greek orthodox).

– the peasants of upper silesia, which is in the center of poland, were usually stuck in feudal relationships, so their marriages were “territorially endogamic” — so probably biologically endogamic as well — and in many areas of upper silesia they became even more so during the time period (1500s-1700s).

so, most marriages in the 1500s-1700s in poland were local, but the populations themselves in towns and rural areas would’ve been more local than in larger urban areas.

here are some exerpts from the article:

gdańsk – city
“As Maria Bogucka points out, a marriage was in most cases the result of negotiations carried out by the relatives and friends rather than the most interested parties. The selection of the partner was based on the following principles: an equal social position, economic benefits and the advantages resulting from uniting the families. Beauty, individual preferences or feelings did not play an important role. It was not only economic matters, but also familial bonds, sentiments of the members of the older generation as well as the political and economic competition among clans that influenced the decision about a marriage, even if it was against the feelings of the prospective partners. Only among the poorest members of the society could one choose a partner more freely and often according to individual feelings.”

warsaw – city – 1740-1779
“Mixed marriages entered into in the parish of St. Cross were more frequent in the seventeen forties and fifties (3.0-3.1% of all marriages), with a decreasing tendency in the following decades…. [I]n the last fifteen years of the 18th century over 80% of the bridegrooms lived (were born?) in the parish of the future bride. It means that the marriages were made up within the local community.”

toruń – town
“Low mobility constitutes a very characteristic feature of the analysed population of Toruń. Marriages with either of the spouses coming from outside the town were rare. Migration from the country was also very small. With time, it resulted in an increase in the number of marriages between distant relatives. It could be the cause of genetic impoverishment of successive generations and in consequence a significantly lower resistance to diseases.”

brzeżany in the red russia province – very small town – 1641 – 1800
“The bride and bridegroom mostly came from the territory of the Roman Catholic parish of Brzeżany, some of them from an unknown location, and the rest from very distant places. According to the available public marriage registers (both Roman and Greek Catholic) 67.8% of men and 74.2% of women came from the Brzeżany parish, 20.2% of men and 21.5% of women from an unknown location, and 12% of men and 4.3% of women from outside the parish.

“The bride and the bridegroom usually came from the same place, where they also lived after the wedding, i.e. those living in a town also came from that town, those from a suburb lived in the same suburb, and of course those from a certain village lived in that village. Newcomers from other places were a minority. The migration from the country to the town in the analysed parish was very small.

“Marriage was generally contracted by people of the same religious persuasion. Of all the marriages between 1641 and 1800 that took place in the parish church, 96.3% were contracted by Roman Catholics, 3.5% by Greek Catholic men and Roman Catholic women, and 0.2% by Roman Catholic men and Greek Catholic women. In Greek Catholic parish marriage registers 99.9% of marriages were contracted by members of the Greek Catholic Church.”

upper silesia – peasants
“Marriage played a key role in the process of creation and functioning of peasant households. For the marriage of feudally dependent country folk a permission of the feudal landlord was required. The lack of such permission could result in a fine for the bride and the bridegroom along with the priest who celebrated the wedding….”

“In Silesia, if a marriage resulted in leaving the village and an extinction of the feudal relationship, a special contribution had to be paid to the landowner….

In parishes included in the studies almost all marriages could be described as territorially endogamic. Since the end of the 17th century we can observe a slight decrease in the number of marriages between partners form different parishes. For example, in Krapkowice parish at the end of the 17th century almost one third of men and one fifth of women came from outside the parish. But in the first half of the 18th century the number dropped to 19% and 10%, whereas in the second half to 25% and 13% respectively. In Krzanowo parish 43% were couples coming from the parish, 36% from the neighbouring territories, and one fifth from more distant places. In Ziemięciny at the turn of the 17th century over 80% of the newly married couples came from the parish, but at the end of the 18th century only about 60%.”

if we go back to my previous post on poland for a sec, since we now know that polish peasants of this time period were generally marrying very endogamously, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that:

“[W]e find Galeski referring to the ‘strong ties of kinship among the families which make up the community.’ This is reinforced by the frequent intra-village marriages and results in the fact that ‘there are usually only a few family names in the village community. The village consists of several interrelated large families (or clans). For this reason, a village is sometimes defined as a family neighbour group….’

late medieval/early modern polish rural society, then, was clannish.

keep in mind that, according to roman catholic canon law during this time period, individuals closer than third cousins should not have been allowed to marry. who knows what enforcement was like, though. i think the same or a similar rule probably applied in the greek orthodox church at the time, but i don’t know for sure — there was probably some sort of ban on cousin marriage in any case. the german protestants in gdańsk? not sure. many protestant churches okay-ed cousin marriage after the reformation, but some did not. don’t know what the protestant churches in northern poland thought about cousin marriage at this time. further research is required. (~_^)

szopeno, who has shared a lot of great info about marriage and the family in historic poland over the last couple of days (thanks, szopeno!), suggests two things that might’ve served to decrease inbreeding in poland during this time period: wars and zbiegostwo.

wrt wars, szopeno means that soldiers passing through regions would’ve left some of their genes behind in the population. absolutely! and, unfortunately, there certainly weren’t a shortage of wars in poland during these centuries. the only thing about wars, though, is that — not surprisingly — they tend to make people close ranks. for example, inbreeding (close cousin marriages) in italy increased following both world wars, so it’s hard to know what the total effects of a war(s) on a gene pool might be.

zbiegostwo refers to the practice of polish pesants voting againt cr*ppy feudal conditions with their feet, i.e. literally fleeing whatever situation they found themselves in. here’s a google translation from the encyklopedia wiem entry for zbiegostwo chłopów (“peasant flight” [maybe]):

“From the fifteenth century took on a mass scale, reaching the largest scale in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the continual growth in size of serfdom and limiting personal freedom of the peasants.”

where did these people go? did they wind up in other (hopefully better) feudal positions? they don’t seem to appear much in the marriage records of toruń or brzeżany or upper silesia (see above). maybe they wound up in big cities like warsaw. then the question is, how successful at mating and leaving progeny behind were the lower classes in late medieval/early modern urban center in poland? presumably not very, but i really don’t know. open question.

SOME of them are believed to have joined up with the cossacks! now there’s an alternative lifestyle for you. (~_^) no idea how many fleeing peasants wound up doing that.


previously: traditional family systems in medieval and modern poland

(note: comments do not require an email. my favorite polish thing! great. now i’m hungry.)

“civicness” in germany and poland

in a post last year, i showed that eastern europeans score very low on “civicness” — i.e. membership in voluntary organizations — at least according to data from the world values survey, 2005-2008. out of the slavic nations, poland (and moldova) scored above the eastern european average, but still well below anglos:

szopeno suggests that this low civic spirit is related to the after effects of living under totalitarian communist regimes:

“In Poland, most of lawyers, doctors, enterpreneurs were executed by nazis, and the rest was killed/deported by soviets. In USSR for generations all those, who were individualistic were executed, escaped to the west etc…. Most never returned…. You have a generations of living in system, were everyone could be your enemy, when you couldn’t talk freely with strangers, when state was your enemy. This had profound effects on psychology….”

i think the first part there — a nation losing its best and brightest — will definitely have a negative effect on society, possibly for quite a few generations. but i don’t really buy that there would be long-lasting effects on a nation’s psyche (unless there are some sorts of epigenetic effects of living in stressful circumstances 24/7 for decades?). i think there’s something deeper going on wrt “civicness.” i have a hard time believing that it’s just a coincidence that regions as diverse as the arab world and eastern europe and spain and italy — all places with a long history of you-know-what — have low scores on civicness. i think there’s something biological going on.

szopeno also suggested that “civicness” might be different in eastern germany than in western since the population in the east was under a totalitarian regime for so long. so, i’ve taken a closer look at “civicness” in west and east germany and in poland.

what i’ve done is taken an average of the percentages replying “belong” (as opposed to “not mentioned”) for the following questions from the world values survey, 1999:

Please look carefully at the following list of voluntary organisations and activities and say…which, if any, do you belong to?

– Social welfare services for elderly, handicapped or deprived people
– Religious or church organisations
– Education, arts, music or cultural activities
– Labor unions
– Political parties or groups
– Local community action on issues like poverty, employment, housing, racial equality
– Third world development or human rights
– Conservation, environment, animal rights groups
– Professional associations
– Youth work (e.g. scouts, guides, youth clubs etc.)
– Sports or recreation
– Women’s groups
– Peace movement
– Voluntary organisations concerned with health
– Other

i’ve used the ’99 survey because it breaks down the responses by region, whereas the later surveys unfortunately do not. for germany and poland, the data are broken down by the sixteen german länder and the sixteen polish voivodeships. the questions are slightly different from the 2005-2008 wave, but some of them are the same. in my previous post, though, i considered “active” members; the 1999 wave options were basically just member or not member.

note that some of the sample sizes for some of the regions are rather small. i should’ve cleaned those out, but didn’t have (make!) the time right now, so consider this post a rough draft!

i’ve plotted the averages against the longitudes of each region (acquired from wikipedia’s geohack) with the idea that both outbreeding and the presence of medieval manorialism (which helped to break down clans and tribes in europe) have a longer history in western europe than in the east, and due to the spread of these practices from west to east across northern europe, i’d expect to find more “civicness” in western europe than in the east, perhaps moving along some sort of gradient from west to east. indeed, i found a negative correlation of 0.76 (-0.76) between membership in a voluntary organization (“civicness”) and longitude (west to east). here is a nifty chart of that (click on image for LARGER version) — the blue squares indicate german länder, the red squares indicate german länder that used to be a part of east germany, and the pink squares indicate polish voivodeships:

so, at least across germany-poland, there is a general west-to-east decrease in civicness.

however, when i checked for correlations between civicness and longitude within each of the countries, while i found a negative 0.66 (-0.66) correlation in germany, there was only a negative 0.39 (-0.39) correlation in poland. so, uncivicness seems to be present across the board in poland, but runs from west-to-east in germany.

hmmmm. those results — less civicness in east germany and across the board in poland — could back up szopeno’s idea of communism’s lingering effects on civic attitudes. maybe he’s right! otoh, manorialism and outbreeding reached eastern germany and poland comparatively late (late medieval period at the earliest for poland) and poland sits astride the hajnal line, so maybe i’m right! (^_^)

never fear! i’ll be looking more at mating patterns and family types in poland (and eastern europe) — and there are other sources on “civicness” in poland to be looked at — so stay tuned!

btw, that blue dot with the 1% (0.93%) average responding that they were members of some sort of voluntary organization? that’s hamburg. the number of samples was on the low side for hamburg, but if the survey results are at all correct, the only “odd” thing i can think of regarding the city is that it is a rather vibrant one. i suspect it might be the low numbers, though. the highest scorer — pretty much as far to the west as you can get in germany — was saarland with nearly one in ten saying that they belonged to some sort of voluntary organization.

and, oh. i also checked for any correlation between “civicness” and latitude. didn’t find anything in germany (-0.39) — but i got an almost perfect uncorrelation for poland (-0.01)! never saw such an uncorrelation before. cool! (^_^)

previously: civic societies and civic societies ii

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a syrian-american

anonymous over @steve sailer’s pointed out that angela corey, the prosecutor in the trayvon martin case, is of syrian descent. from her 2008 campaign website (my emphasis):

“Angela is also very proud of her large, extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins, all of whom were born and raised in the Jacksonville area, and who are and continue to be active in numerous Jacksonville businesses and community activities.”

i’m sure she is. (~_^)

previously: more on syrian marriage and family types

(note: comments do not require an email. syrian americans.)