the kato

i thought i’d start running through pinker’s “war deaths chart” to see if i can work out any/some of these populations’ mating patterns. already posted about the semai (low violence rates, outbreeders) and the yąnomamö (greater violence rates than the semai, inbreeders).

now i’m just going to begin at the top of the list and work my way down — so today it’s the cato kato indians of california (or the cahto depending on your spelling preferences):

pinker - war deaths per 100,000 people per year - the kato

as you can see, the kato are at the top of pinker’s list. (in the 1840s, the kato were fighting the yuki, so remind me to post about them, too.)

from The North American Indian. Volume 14 [pg. 11]:

Marriage was arranged between the two persons concerned without consulting anybody else. Having secured a girl’s consent her lover went clandestinely that night to sleep with her, and at dawn he stole away. The secret was preserved as long as possible, perhaps for several days, and the news of the match transpired without formal announcement, even the girl’s parents learning of their daughter’s marriage in this indirect fashion. His marriage no longer a secret, the young man might then erect a house of his own. The bond was no more easily tied than loosed, for either could leave the other for any reason whatever, the man retaining the male children and the woman the female. Children were not regarded as belonging any more to the paternal than to the maternal side. When adultery was discovered, the only result was a little bickering and perhaps an invitation to the offender to take up permanent relations with the new love.”

sounds like cousin marriage was not insisted upon in kato society. otoh, sounds like there were no proscriptions against it, either. so matings in kato society could’ve been close — at least some of the time.

from Native Americans: An Encyclopedia of History, Culture, and Peoples [pgs. 156-57]:

Marriage was generally a matter between the couple involved, although girls were generally prepubescent when married. The Cahto practiced polygyny as well as the taboo that prevented a man from addressing his mother-in-law directly. Divorce was easily obtained for nearly any reason.”

again, no apparent insistence upon, or prohibitions against, cousin/other close marriage. however, from here [pg. 247] we learn that the pre-contact kato population was ca. 1,100 individuals. that’s not very many! with such a small population, it would be very difficult, indeed, to avoid inbreeding. (don’t forget, too, because native americans went through a bottleneck coming to the americas, they’re all relatively related to one another — genetically speaking. so any inbreeding would be even more inbred than in other populations — if that’s the right way to put it [i know it’s not!].)

interestingly, from Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 8: California [pg. 244]:

“The Cahto lacked a true tribal organization. During precontact time there are estimated to have been 50 villages, with the permanent settlement situated in the three valleys where the town of Cahto once stood, and the towns of Branscomb and Laytonville now stand.”

another question is whether or not the kato married non-kato people. they were, apparently, on quite friendly terms with the pomo indians and many of them spoke pomo. did they marry out? dunno.

so, the kato? i’m gonna call it: probable inbreeding.

kato lady (she looks nice!):

Cahto_woman_curtis

previously: the semai and the fierce people

(note: comments do not require an email. cato.)

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12 Comments

  1. “so matings in kato society could’ve been close — at least some of the time”

    I think one of the recurring marriage forms will turn out to be “close but randomly close” mainly due to low population sizes and this form will have a distinctive pattern in terms of size and frequency of runs of ROH.

    (Perhaps and above average amount of short runs combined with below average long runs? – as opposed to the kind of patterns you might get from other marriage forms e.g.
    – repeated arranged close marriage
    – nominally the same repeated arranged close marriage but within a higher pop. density so there’s simply more choice of cousins
    – kato type individual choice marriage but within a higher pop. density so fewer random close pairings

    Reply

  2. @g.w – “Perhaps and above average amount of short runs combined with below average long runs?”

    yeah, could be.

    those roh are really cool, but a little frustrating (like everything in biology [h*ll, in life! (~_^)] ) since they can also be affected by other factors, e.g. all the long roh in native americans ’cause they went through a bottleneck. i wonder if anyone’s ever tried to tease those things apart? i mean, try to work out what proportion of the long roh in native americans has to do with the migratory bottleneck and how much has to do with other effects. maybe it’s too early days for that yet (in terms of how much genetic data are available out there at this point in time). maybe i’m jumping the gun.

    @g.w. – “…as opposed to the kind of patterns you might get from other marriage forms…”

    i really want (someone) to map out the resulting genetic structures within populations depending on different mating patterns — some schematic graphs or even some mathematical models (eek!) — ’cause i’m sure they must be different. and i don’t mean just roh, but all sorts of inheritance patterns. inbreeding (or outbreeding for that matter) is not just one thing — repeated fbd marriage must result in a different genetic structure within a population than, for instance, this kato marriage pattern.

    and now i’m not just thinking of my altruism hobbyhorse — i think these differences could apply to all sorts of genetic issues.

    Reply

  3. “maybe i’m jumping the gun.”

    I think so. I think it will turn out that the various patterns of ROH distribution will turn out to be an important historical marker but it may take a while for the importance of marriage forms to human evolution to sink in and then for people who really understand the genetic details to start looking seriously at what the various ROH patterns might mean – and then eventually do mean.

    “i think these differences could apply to all sorts of genetic issues.”

    I think you’re right but it will take a while for the significance of marriage forms to sink in.

    Reply

  4. @g.w. – “…but it may take a while for the importance of marriage forms to human evolution to sink in and then for people who really understand the genetic details to start looking seriously at what the various ROH patterns might mean – and then eventually do mean.”

    *sigh*

    @g.w. – “I think you’re right but it will take a while for the significance of marriage forms to sink in.”

    well, i’m going to make it my personal crusade! (^_^) (oh, wait … maybe i already have …? (~_^) )

    Reply

  5. “maybe i already have”

    I think so :)

    However it’s one of those things which is so obvious once someone mentions it it can’t help but get serious attention from people who understand the details before long – even if only in China – so i think it’s quite possible some papers might start popping out within not too long a time scale. That’s one of the big advantages of the internet.

    Reply

  6. @steve – “What the highest sustainable violent death rate a population can survive indefinitely?”

    good question. i dunno! i wonder if anyone’s ever tried to work that out? maybe keeley had something to say about that — i’ll have to check.

    obviously, how many people you start off with makes a difference. also, all else being equal, you’d think you could afford to lose more men than women since men can reproduce so relatively easily. the yąnomamö tactic of killing women and children might be a pretty effective one for eliminating one’s enemy. =/

    Reply

  7. “What the highest sustainable violent death rate a population can survive indefinitely?”

    If the violent death rate is proportional to the percentage of men with violent traits then it would depend on the reproductive advantages of violence. If the violent death rate was 60% but the reproductive advantage was also 60% then it could stay stable forever – or at least until a particularly exterminationist civil war killed off almost all the warriors – while a violent death rate of 5% wouldn’t survive if the reproductive advantage was only 1%.

    Reply

  8. @g.w. – “If the violent death rate is proportional to the percentage of men with violent traits then it would depend on the reproductive advantages of violence.”

    i caved … and bought jared diamond’s latest book (hoping that it’ll at least offer up some good info, never mind his theories) … and here’s what he had to say about the yanomamo … and the waorani (chapter 4, in the section entitled “Ultimate Reasons”):

    “[T]he anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon calculated, from Yanomamo genealogies that he gathered, that if one compares Yanomamo men who have or haven’t killed people, the killers have on the average over two and a half times more wives and over three times more children. Of course the killers are also more likely to die or to be killed at an earlier age than are non-killers, but during that shorter lifespan they win more prestige and social rewards and can thereby obtain more wives and rear extra children…. In some societies the shorter lifespan of warlike men is likely not to be compensated by an ability to attract more wives per decade of their shorter life. That is the case for Ecuador’s Waorani Indians, who are even more warlike than the Yanomamo. Nevertheless, more zealous Waorani warriors don’t have more wives than do milder men, and they have fewer rather than more children surviving to reproductive age.”

    hmmm.

    Reply

  9. Yes, that’s way it works in the gangbanger underclass. The successfully fierce have the most kids (anecdatal) more through chasing off rivals than anything else. (If a girl has a choice of three suitors she might pick any one of them but if two of the suitors are scared off by the third then her choice is either him or no-one.)

    “That is the case for Ecuador’s Waorani Indians, who are even more warlike than the Yanomamo. Nevertheless, more zealous Waorani warriors don’t have more wives than do milder men, and they have fewer rather than more children surviving to reproductive age”

    I don’t trust Diamond at all on this kind of thing as he must know all about HG violence from Papua New Guinea.

    However leaving that aside does he mean the milder Waorani are milder on an absolute scale or milder relative to the most war-like Waorani? If it’s the latter then a mild Waorani would still be very high on the fierceness scale so you might expect diminishing returns.

    For example if the average Yanomani man was 6/10 on the fierceness scale while the fiercest were 9/10 there’s lots of scope for scaring rivals off whereas if the average Waorani was 9/10 and the fiercest 10/10 there’s less scope (as in reality it’s better if it doesn’t come to single combat because people want to avoid injury so being able to scare someone off through threat of violence and reputation is better. If someone is determined to stand their ground then even if the 10/10 thinks he can win; if the other guy is determined to fight there’s still a worry he might cause a serious injury.)

    (nb that’s how to survive situations where a group is threatening to attack (assuming you’re not Bruce Lee). you plant your back against a wall and look like whatever else happens one of them will be seriously injured. people are more scared of serious injury than they need to be. perhaps dating back to when any wound could kill?)

    Reply

  10. “What the highest sustainable violent death rate a population can survive indefinitely?”

    Another thing i wonder about on this is if the theoretical maximum violent death rate is whatever level can be matched by increased reproductive success of violence – with diminishing rates of return at higher levels – it should in theory be stable except i don’t think it is. I think having extremely high proportions of “no surrender” type violent men always contains the possibility of a civil war with a *massive* final casualty rate i.e. up in the 80-90% range. I wonder if some of the rare very peaceful tribal cultures are the result of an event like that in their past.

    Reply

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