weird al’s reddit ama. (^_^)
so, after all my rambling about the historic mating patterns amongst the native irish, how inbred are the irish really?
“[O]ur results suggest that the Irish population has the largest proportion of the genome in ROH (as measured by FROH1), relative to the British and HapMap CEU populations examined here (Figure 3).”
the members of the ceu population are mormons in utah. here is figure 3 — click on images for LARGER view:
“Figure 3 – FROH1 patterning in Irish, British and Swedish populations. Box plots represent (a) the number and (b) the summed size of segments of the autosomal genome that exists in ROH of 1 Mb or greater in length (ie, FROH1). The bars represent mean and confidence intervals, as per a standard box plot (box indicating the 25th–75th percentile of the FROH1 distribution, line within box representing the median and ends of the whiskers representing the 5th–95th percentiles). Outliers are represented by diamonds.”
so the irish: more AND longer roh or runs of homozygosity (1 Mb in length or greater) than the english, the utah mormons, scots in aberdeen, or the swedes — in that order (if i’m not mistaken). so the english here are the most outbred (what have i been saying?), while the irish are the most inbred.
more from the paper:
“Overall, the Irish and Swedish populations seem slightly different from the others in the context of ROH. Both the Irish and Swedish populations showed, on an average, a greater number of ROH, an increased maximum ROH length, as well as an increased proportion of the genome in homozygous runs, compared with that of the Scottish, southern English and Utah populations. Similarly, the mean level of individual autozygosity per population as measured by FROH22 was highest for the Irish group (Figure 4). Together, these results suggest slightly increased autozygosity in the Irish cohort compared with the British and Swedish cohorts.”
here’s figure 4:
“Figure 4 – Mean FROH1 and FROH5 patterning in Irish, British and Swedish populations. See Figure 1 legend for population identifiers. Y-axis indicates the average proportion of the autosomal genome covered by FROH1 or FROH5 (see Materials and Methods for definition of FROH).
“Autozygosity is generated by increased levels of kinship, which in turn reflects the population history of Ireland. Although relatively undisturbed by secondary migrations, the population of Ireland has undergone expansions and contractions at numerous points in recent history (eg, two major famines since 1600, disease epidemics, expansion in the first half of the 19th century). Aside from these features, the increased autozygosity may also reflect legacies of Gaelic family structures and comparatively low levels of migration that are in part due to a lack of industrial revolution in Ireland.
“To test a hypothesis of increased autozygosity due to features of relatively recent population history, we examined the patterning of homozygosity looking for signals of parental relatedness over the last four or five generations. Previous work has illustrated that parental relatedness arising within four to six generations predominantly affects ROH over 5 Mb in length.22 We therefore compared this statistic across populations. Results show that the Irish and Swedish populations have around 10 times as much of their genomes in ROH over 5 Mb in length than the southern English, and 1.5–3 times as much as Scotland and Utah (Figure 4)….
“Analysis of ROH is a powerful method to gauge the extent of ancient kinship and recent parental relationship within a population. This is because ROH arise from shared parental ancestry in an individual’s pedigree. The offspring of cousins have very long ROH, commonly over 10 Mb, whereas at the other end of the spectrum, almost all Europeans have ROH of ∼2 Mb in length, reflecting shared ancestry from hundreds to thousands of years ago. By focussing on ROH of different lengths, it is therefore possible to infer aspects of demographic history at different time depths in the past.22 We used FROH measures to compare and contrast patterning across populations. These measures are genomic equivalents of the pedigree inbreeding coefficient, but do not suffer from problems of pedigree reconstruction. By varying the lengths of ROH that are counted, they may be tuned to assess parental kinship at different points in the past. We used two different measures, FROH1, which includes all ROH over 1 Mb and hence includes information on recent and background parental relatedness, and FROH5, which sums ROH over 5 Mb in length, more typical of a parental relationship in the last four to six generations.22 Our FROH1 results indicate slightly elevated levels in the Irish and Swedish populations (compared with southern England, Scotland and HapMap CEU) of both the overall number of ROH and the proportion of genome in ROH (see Figure 3). This pattern was exaggerated when we restricted analysis to ROH greater than 5 Mb in length (ie, FROH5, see Figure 4), indicating increased levels of parental relatedness in the last six generations in the Irish and Swedish populations compared with other populations tested in this study. When we remove individuals with ROH over 5 Mb from the FROH1 analysis (Supplementary Figure S5), Ireland remains as the population with the most homozygous runs and the longest sum length of homozygosity. This provides further evidence that the elevated proportion of shorter ROH, and hence the number of ancient pedigree loops in Ireland, is indeed real and not driven by a limited number of offspring of cousins.“
recent cousin matings, they mean.
so, if you look at figure 4, both the irish and the swedes have way more roh of over 5 Mb in lenth than the english (who have a really miniscule amount), the scots in aberdeen, or the mormons in utah (ceu) — in that order. in this instance, the swedes appear to have the most roh over 5 Mb, but as the authors say, when they removed the over 5 Mb individuals from the samples (i.e. the individuals most likely to be the offspring of recent cousin marriages), the irish wind up having the most and the longest roh over 1 Mb in length, so they win the overall inbreeding prize for these groups.
what the authors overlook, i think, is the longer term mating patterns of these populations. i think that the english in this study (and, it should be noted, that these are described as individuals from the south and southeast of england) have miniscule amounts of roh in their genomes because, out of all these groups, they have been outbreeding the longest (see “mating patterns in europe series” ↓ below in left-hand column) — since the early part of the middle ages, in fact. the irish and the swedes, on the other hand, have more roh because they started outbreeding much later (and, probably, too, because, like other northern populations, they’re somewhat remote and small in size) — the swedes sometime after they converted to christianity in — when was it? — ca. 1000 a.d.? and the irish, as i’ve shown in the last few posts on irish mating patterns, not until sometime towards the late medieval period — as late as the 1500s possibly.
the implication of all this is, because the irish and the swedes (and other groups in europe) inbred for longer than the english (and some of the french and dutch and germans), their societies would’ve remained clan- or extended-family based for longer than those of the english et al., and so would’ve been under different sorts of selection pressures from their social environment.
update: Supplementary Figure S5 – when the researchers removed the individuals with roh over 5Mb, i.e. those individuals who were most likely to be the offspring of cousins (see comments):
previously: runs of homozygosity and inbreeding (and outbreeding) and western europeans, runs of homozygosity (roh), and outbreeding and russians, eastern europeans, runs of homozygosity (roh), and inbreeding and early and late medieval irish mating practices and clannish medieval ireland and inbreeding in europe’s periphery and early modern and modern clannish ireland and meanwhile, in ireland… and drinkin’ and fightin’ songs and mating patterns, family types, and clannishness in twentieth century ireland and inbreeding in ireland in modern times
(note: comments do not require an email. clan map of ireland.)
and you thought i was finished posting about the irish. nope! that’s why darth is still up there ↑ sipping his guinness! (~_^)
however, this will be the second-to-the-last — or penultimate for those of you who like to use fancy, foreign loan words (my oed says it came from the french in the 1600s) — post on the irish. i promise. in this current series anyway. (again, if you don’t know what this is all about, you might want to start by reading what’s this all about?)
what do we have so far on the history of native irish mating patterns and family types and societal structures?:
– the medieval irish were clannish, from early in the period (and probably going back into the iron age, too) right through to at least the late-1500s. they actually lived in clans which were called fines. these fines did start to dissipate toward the end of the period, but compared to elsewhere in europe at the time (like england), the medieval irish were very, very clannish.
– the medieval irish regularly married very closely, from early in the period right through, again, to at least the late-1500s. they married cousins (possibly paternal cousins, although i don’t know that for certain), aunts, uncles … they married close. to the great annoyance of the church in rome.
– something undoubtedly happened in ireland between the late-1500s and the 1800s, but i don’t know what, because i haven’t gone to the library yet.
– by the 1800s, the irish were no longer living in clans (fines), but extended families were important, and clannishness was evident in the “faction fighting” that happened during the 1700 and 1800s in ireland. faction fights were ongoing feuds between various sets of extended families and their allies.
– lots of irish folk songs from the 1700 and 1800s were related to drinking and fighting.
so, the irish did become less clannish over time from the middle ages until the modern period — actual clans disappeared to be replaced by connections between extended family members, and the people lived more in stem family households rather than extended family households (although this was probably an imposition from the outside as the english authorities altered most of the landholding and inheritance laws in late medieval/early modern ireland — and even after ireland became an independent state, it retained much of the anglo legal system). it’s likely that the mating patterns also shifted, and that the roman catholic church’s cousin marriage bans came to be more strictly enforced, but i still need to check that.
now, mating patterns, family types, and clannishness in twentieth century ireland.
by the early twentieth century, the irish in ireland generally avoided first cousin marriage, although second cousin marriage did happen not infrequently. in some more remote places, however, first cousin marriages were quite common, but these were odd pockets of populations and were not typical of the general population. people lived in stem family housesholds (that’s a nuclear family with grandparents), but the extended family — out to second cousins — was important. the faction fighting of previous centuries was gone, but (and i’m getting ahead of myself here) nepotism and patronage [pg. 18+] were common, even into the twenty-first century (recall that ireland is one of the piiggs).
a couple of anthropologists, conrad m. arensberg and solon t. kimball, headed to ireland in the 1930s (i think it was) and studied family and community life in county clare. here are some lengthy excerpts from their book, Family and Community in Ireland [pgs. 77-78, 83-86 – links added by me]:
“The second [the word ‘friend’] in ordinary rural usage refers not to a comrade, as in English, but to one’s relatives. Even in the towns, one’s father, mother, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, are referred to as ‘immediate friends.’ In the countryside one speaks of one’s kinsmen as one’s ‘friends,’ particularly if they occupy one’s own generation; one’s father’s relatives, even his brothers, become ‘my father’s friends.’ A ‘distant friend’ refers not to distance in space but to that in cousinship….
“[T]he Irish family is patrilocal and patronymic, to use the technical terms. Farm, house, and most of the household goods descend from father to son with the patronym; we shall follow their general movement in a later section.
“This patrilineal descent gives a certain accent upon the kinship system; it chooses one line of descent out of the many possible and gives those who make it up a common name. There is a reflection of this fact in the groupings of Irish rural life. To outsiders a person may be known as ‘a boy of the Shannons’ or a ‘man of the Flaherties,’ but in a sense these groupings are merely linguistic conveniences. For in many cases two families of Shannons may live side by side, yet not be considered ‘friends.’ None of the obligations of kinship bind them. For in the phrase of the countryman: ‘They are not the same Shannons or, if they are, they are too far out….’
“[T]he kindred are the group within which marriage is prohibited….
“In country regions, such as Luogh, nearly all of the families are united by complicated, reduplicated bonds of marriage and descent….
“[T]he descent is carried a step further back to a common great-grandparent. Marriage taboos and extended family obligations go backward and upward with the reckoning. Thus second cousins are recognized as being within the kindred and within the prohibited degrees. In fact, in the authors’ experience the obligations of cooring and ‘friendliness’ were equally strong with them….
“[B]oth the Church and Irish rural society reckon descent bilaterally; all possible roots, male and female, are counted. In that case, the count gives thirty-two kinship personalities in ego’s own generation who come within this group of first and second cousins. These can all be counted as cousins or ‘friends.’ They are within the range of *col* or marriage taboo. They make up the extended family whose behavior we have examined above….
“Consanguinity is carried one step further by the Church. As a barrier to marriage, or diriment impediment, it extends to the ‘fourth degree.’ This includes the group taken from a common descent yet a generation higher. It brings in those relatives known in English as third cousins….”
note that this is no longer the case in the roman catholic church. today only first cousin marriages are prohibited.
“The bounds of the consanguine group are naturally not rigid in this type of extensional structure. There is a gradation of intensity in the taboo as it extends toward the peripheral relatives. First and second cousins, to use the more convenient English terms, are tabooed, the first more strongly than the second. Third cousins, felt to be ‘very far out’ and sometimes ‘not counted’ by the Irish, are nevertheless formally tabooed by the Church. Yet dispensations can be obtained with relative ease for kindred of this degree. They are granted for all alliances within the system for ’cause’ inward even as far as first cousins and uncles and nieces, but never within the restricted family. When the dispensation of the Church is obtained, there is no feeling of horror at such marriages. They are, however, always felt to be anomalous and are a matter of comment. In the country areas where there is a necessity among the farmers of keeping farms and dowries within the extended family group, or where the introduction of an outsider is difficult because of class and regional antagonisms, marriages between first or second cousins are not uncommon. Nevertheless the general feeling of the community condemns this type of union. Too close intermarriage of this type is a common charge used by townsmen in condemning the country folk….”
“If the individual attempts to rise above his fellows or to forget them in his way upward, the cry immediately rises that he is ‘forgetting his friends.’ In fact, disloyalty to one’s kinship group is felt to be a deadly crime against the group.
“The Irish extended family, combining in different degrees of intensity of solidarity all descendants of a common ancestor through five contemporaneous generations, is not a rigidly defined structure set off from the other groups of society. On the contrary, the extended families present a picture of a series of interlocking pyramids in which each individual is assigned a definite place, but in which no two individuals (unless siblings) occupy quite the same place. It is a group of kindred reckoning common bilateral descent, and linking as equals all individuals occupying the same step within that descent to the number of five such steps…. It is in no sense a clan or gens, as its bounds are not constant, but descend and ascend through the total group of possible kindred….“
“Through the workings in and out of the interlocking series of pyramids mentioned above, an isolated area of small population can soon become inextricably intertangled. Hence in the poorest and most isolated regions we find the greatest amount of intermarriage. Evidence is not definite on this score, but the indications point in that direction….
“Through such intermingling, it very often happens that a comparatively large area will be peopled entirely by individuals standing within near degrees of kinship one to another. In such a case the local group attains the added solidarities of common kinship. To an outsider, such a group, closely integrated through kinship bonds, occupying the same general level of social stratification and the same general place in the economic system, and dominating a large or small area (sometimes as large as a parish), presents a united front. It exhibits a very effective solidarity against outsiders. It is this solidarity which gives rise to the assumption among outside observers that the clan still exists in rural Ireland. It is this solidarity, too, which expresses itself in the political cohesion of large sections of the countryside.”
here is an example of the mating patterns one of “the poorest and most isolated regions” in which was found “the greatest amount of intermarriage.” from some research done by nancy scheper-hughes (meh) in the 1970s on the dingle peninsula in ireland — some excerpts from Saints, Scholars, and Schizophrenics: Mental Illness in Rural Ireland [pgs. 81, 179-181]:
“An intense rivalry separates Ballybran from its larger, sister parish of ‘Castlederry’ (i.e Castlegregory)…. Where Castlederry is neatly divided into class, religious, and ethnic boundaries, sporting a few token Protestant residents, the people of Ballybran like to make the ‘proud boast’ that there was never a ‘Black Protestant’ to dig his heels permanently into their native turf. Finally, where men from Castlederry frequently contract matches with women outside their parish, the men of Ballybran feel that a match with a second cousin or no match at all is preferable to marriage with a stranger….
“Because of the general mistrust of outsiders and the reluctance of village women to marry into the kitchen of a completely unknown mother-in-law, marriages have tended (until recently) to be parish endogamous. Within some isolated hamlet of Ballybran marriage options for generations have been limited to exchanges of women between the six or ten households that the townland comprises. ‘Marry on the dunghill and choose a sponsor from the mountain’ is a local proverb meaning that it is wisest to ‘marry in.’
“A preferred form of marriage in past generations was the ‘double match’ whereby a brother and sister married a brother and sister from a neighboring household. This arrangement was considered eminently fair, since neither household was deprived, even temporarily, of the labor of a woman and in such cases the dowry could be dispensed with. Unpopular marriages, which raise eyebrows and give scandal fall into several categories: a very old man taking a young bride; a widower with small children marrying any woman; a thrice-married widow or widower (‘a first marriage is honorable, a second marriage is excusable, a third marriage is disgraceful’); a ‘mixed marriage’ between a Protestant and a Catholic. All of these marriages are believed to produce bad *dutcas* (blood) in children born of the union.
“Because of generations of endogamy most parishioners are related to one another through blood or marriage or both. There is a certain amount of guilt associated with the inbreeding of the community, and some villagers will go so far as to deny a relationship to distant kin where parish records indicate that such is the case. In one hillside hamlet where six of nine households share the same surname, the O’Carrolls disclaimed one another, saying, ‘We’re all O’Carrolls all right, but not the same O’Carrolls.’
“The desire to keep relationships fuzzy is, in part, the result of an effort to conceal the number of cousin marriages in the parish. Despite the Roman Catholic Church’s incest prohibitions, second-degree-cousin marriages are not uncommon and are a favorite topic of malicious gossip. Although the parish priest or curate is responsible for searching the genealogies of prospective couples, and the publication of the banns of marriage is intended to uncover any impediments to a lawful Church marriage, the rural priest and his flock tend to be sympathetic to such dilemmas, and the details of kinship are often left hazy or ignored. In the rarer cases of first-cousin marriage, where the fear of God’s wrath and His punishment in the form of insanity to the offspring is strong, couples customarily delay the marriage until they are well past the childbearing age.
“As a consequence of parish endogamy, over 96 percent of all adult males are natives of the community, and 70 percent of the married women were born locally.“
compare this to, for example, the village of ely in cambridgeshire, england, in the 1300s where a full 50% of the marriages were to people outside the village. or that there are no dispensations for first cousin marriages in the available records from 1500s england.
“Of the nonnative women the majority have been brought in from neighboring parishes in southwest Kerry and from the towns of Dingle and Tralee. The remaining few women are natives of distant counties to the north, or they are from the midlands and married into the parish following a period of emigration to England. In these cases the marriage was the result of a determined and aggressive move on the part of those bachelor farmers who make a practice of spending their winters as laborers in English cities where they seek out disillusioned and homesick Irish nurses, waitresses, and clerks, anxious to return to Ireland at any cost. Such courtships and marriages are hastily contracted — often during one three-month winter season — in order to allow the couple to return to Ireland in early spring for the start of the new agricultural cycle. Frequently, these marriages turn out unhappily for the bride, who is not well received in the parish and who finds village life monotonous and boring. Such failure reinforce village beliefs about the benefits of marrying one’s own kind.”
and to close with an excerpt from arensberg and kimball — how did the early twentieth century irish extended families interact within themselves and towards outsiders? [pgs. 69-73]:
“The commonest form of cooperation is that which involves lending a boy to a ‘friend’ whenever he is needed….
remember that “friend” means family member (see above).
“About half the families had horse-drawn mowing machines. Those who had them mowed their own meadows as quickly as possible, working from earliest morning as long as light held. They worked with the aid of their sons and with that of boys from the families who had no machines of their own. At each subsequent stage of the harvesting, a boy or young man not a member of the family whose meadow was being worked could be seen giving his labor in aid; he took his place at meals during the day.
“The mowing done, the farmer then took his machine to the farmer whose son had helped him and mowed the meadows belonging to his friend. In one instance a youngish farmer mowed the meadows of three others; in another, of two….
“Here then was an example of an important agricultural operation undertaken by the local community in which provision was made (except in five or six cases) for effective cooperation over and above the usual family economy….
“Driven to social rather than economic explanation, the authors were able to ascertain that in each case of this cooperation there was an extended family relationship involved. Thus Carey, who had mowed the meadows of Dennis and Seamus Molony and Brian McMahon, was second cousin to them. Peter Barrett was first cousin and uncle respectively of the two farmers whose meadows he had mowed. The young men or boys who had worked Carey’s and Barrett’s meadows with the latter’s wives and children were also relatives; they were sons of the relative for whom Carey and Barrett had mowed.
“So it went over the townland. In no instance, of course, had a man mowed for all his relatives; it was not necessary to do so. In one instance a man had mowed for a neighbor who, while not a relative, was a great boon companion…. And the two strangers who had moved into the townland, in one case fifty years before, in the other thirty, had no relatives ‘on this side.’ One of these was man who had never got along with his neighbors, accused the whole townland of plotting against him, and was cordially disliked in return. The other had the help of a boy sent by a cousin in a near-by townland.
“The generic term ‘cooring’ is given to all non-monetary cooperation of this sort in many parts of Clare. The word is a direct borrowing from the Irish *comhair*, which is similarly used, originally meaning cotillage, now having the added meanings of alliance or partnership. But more interesting was the fact that the small farmers explained their cooring in terms of the ‘friendliness’ of the place. So, we shall see, the term ‘friendly’ is applied to the extended (and also immediate) relatives or ‘friends.’
“When asked especially why they were cooperating, the farmers’ answer was that they ‘had right to help.’ In general terms they would phrase it that ‘you have right to help friend,’ or again that ‘country people do be very friendly; they always help one another.’
“Now the phrase ‘have right’ is an expression in the brogue or English dialect spoken in Ireland (and in Clare) which, like ‘friendly,’ is a translation of a Gaelic idiom. It expresses an obligation, duty, or the traditional fitness of an act. The Gaelic word for which it is a substitute is *cóir*, and a bilingual countryman translates the Gaelic phrase is *cóir dom* (the obligation is on me) into ‘I have right to.’ The countrymen of Clare, at least, do not ordinarily use or understand the phrase ‘I am right’ to mean ‘what I have said is true.’ The countryman is explaining his economic acts in their traditional family setting as part of the reciprocities of act, sentiment, and obligation which make up family relationships….
“This aid is felt to be in the same category. Thus one farmer speaking of another, his second cousin, could say:
“‘He is the best friend we ever had; we can make bold on him. When the children were little and our cow died on us, Johnny sent down a cow and calf worth twelve pounds to us and didn’t want anything for it.'”
there’s that potential clannish dysgenics again. and notice how non-extended-family members are largely excluded from receiving aid.
by the 1960s, the first cousin marriage rates in ireland were down to below 1% of all marriages. still, extended families remained important to the irish in ireland even into the 1980s [pgs. 108-111]:
“Kinship obligations, on the other hand, do not fall only upon those living in the same house. The family unit has a paramount responsibility as regards the care of elders; there are other forms of assistance, however, that ciculate within the kinship network too but well beyond the boundaries of both nuclear and stem families. This is the case of baby-sitting services, which leads us back once again to the female domain. Relative, both kin and affines, take care of each other’s children quite frequently, and the closer they are the better….
“As we will see in the next chapter, the spheres of kinship and neighbourhood overlap on many occasions, but they are far from coincident. There is something distinctively unique in a blood relationship that no other form of arrangement can sustitute for. Take, for instance, the case of fosterage and adoption. No matter how popular these practices are in this region, the sort of fictive kinship that they create is never confused with the real blood relationship. This was so emphatically asserted to me that I cannot fail to note it here.“
previously: early and late medieval irish mating practices and clannish medieval ireland and inbreeding in europe’s periphery and early modern and modern clannish ireland and meanwhile, in ireland… and drinkin’ and fightin’ songs and inbreeding in ireland in modern times
(note: comments do not require an email. dingle peninsula.)
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].
grades of the intensity of emigration to the u.s. by federal district, 2010 [names of four hottest districts added by me]:
and grades of the intensity of emigration to the u.s. 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.
“…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.”
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]:
“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….
“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).
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).”
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!)
Genetics, Puberty and African American Girls – “Out of 42 SNPs associated with age at menarche in European women, 25 were also associated with the trait in African-American women, bolstering the evidence that these genes genetic variants are tied to menarche timing. However, they also found variants in eight regions of the genome that were more strongly associated with age at menarche in African-American women than in European-American women.”
Not getting the point – “[A] scientific finding is not invalidated because its supporters are the wrong kind of people. It stands or falls on its own merits.” – from peter frost. see also john s. michael’s: Stephen Jay Gould and Samuel George Morton: A Personal Commentary part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4.
APOL1 Variants – from greg cochran.
Context is crucial when it comes to mutations in genetic evolution – “[A]n individual mutation can be beneficial if it occurs in combination with certain other mutations, but the same mutation can detrimental to the organism if it occurs in other combinations.” – via hbd bibliography!
Bacterial DNA in Human Genomes – “A new study finds strong evidence that bacteria can transfer genes into human genomes, especially in cancer cells.”
Brain plasticity in adults and cognition – “…an interesting result showing a genetic correlation between plasticity of cortex thickness and performance on psychometric tests.” – from john hawks.
Dog Genetics Spur Scientific Spat – “Researchers disagree over the whens and wheres of canine domestication.” – woof.
Are Humans A Pair Bonding Species? – “The bottom line is that people who claim lifelong monogamy is the natural state of humanity absent cultural interference are wrong, and people who claim free love is the natural state of humanity absent cultural constraints are also wrong.” – from heartiste.
Moderately Socially Conservative Darwinians – “[E]volutionary psychology, rightly understood, reinforces the conservative lesson that we are not merely autonomous individuals but also social and relational beings.”
Good old fashioned family values, on which we used to rely – the awesome epigone looks at “the risk factors among women of becoming never-married single mothers by comparing non-whites to the non-Hispanic white rate of bastard birthing.”
The Case of the Missing Ancestor – “DNA from a cave in Russia adds a mysterious new member to the human family.” – on the denisovans.
Ancient Siberians may have rarely hunted mammoths – “Study suggests Stone Age folk sporadically killed the beasts, primarily for ivory.”
News in Brief: Snails trace Stone Age trek from Iberia to Ireland – “Genetic quirk linking snails in two distant areas suggests people brought escargot on migration to Emerald Isle.” – h/t chris davies!
Reverse Biological Engineering: Tinkering with Life Teaches Us How It Began [Excerpt] – “In his new book, Creation, Adam Rutherford explores the emergence of synthetic biology and how it is not only leading to solutions for humanitarian problems but also unraveling the mystery of life’s origin.”
Skull music – “Skull size, density and shape can influence the musical keys people hate…. People with similar-sized skulls tended to dislike the same melodies; for example, people with bigger skulls couldn’t stand the keys with higher frequencies.” – original research article.
How Removing Trees Can Kill You – “Having fewer trees around may be bad for your health.”
bonus: Anti-Immigrant and Anti-Euro, Germany’s Thilo Sarrazin Is Not Sorry – “‘When [taboos] cease serving the cause of social politeness, and begin to interfere in the realms of knowledge, questioning, and discovery … they are useless.'”
bonus bonus: Why haven’t you moved to Detroit? – from foseti. (~_^)
bonus bonus bonus: David Auerbach on “The Crisis of the European Mind: 1680-1715”
bonus bonus bonus bonus: Big data meets the Bard
bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: This Castle’s Toilet Still Holds Parasites From Crusaders’ Feces
bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Here’s What Happens When You Light a Fire in Space
bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: A Brief History Of The Demise Of Battle Bots – robot darwinism happened.
bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: informational chart – number of prominent eunuchs over run of game of thrones so far
(note: comments do not require an email. knock, knock.)