random notes: 09/06/13

something that sobl1 asked me yesterday on twitter about the kurds led me to this on wikipedia:

“Barth finds in his study of southern Kurdistan that in tribal villages 57% of all marriages were cousin marriages (48% bint ‘amm marriages) while in a nontribal village made up of recent immigrant families only 17% were cousin marriages (13% bint ‘amm).”

the barth reference is: Barth F. (1954) Father’s brother’s daughter marriage in Kurdistan. South Western Journal of Anthropology 10, 164-171.

i haven’t seen it (yet), because it’s not online — only some tantilizing previews here and here — and, no, i still haven’t gone to the library.

what piques my interest here is the difference in cousin marriage rates between the traditional kurdish tribal villages (57%) and nontribal villages “made up of recent immigrant families (17%).

while it seems like it should be obvious that immigration would reduce cousin marriage rates, this is the first actual example i’ve (almost) seen of that. in other cases of immigration that i’ve seen — europe in general in the late-1800s (see second half of this post), germans in gdańsk in the 1500-1700s (see here), and, for example, not to be forgotten, pakistanis and their chain-migration patterns in places like the u.k. today — the cousin marriage rates have actually gone UP in connection with immigration. here — finally, then — is an example of cousin marriage decreasing with immigration — by a LOT, apparently.

so it seems like the effect of emigration on cousin marriage rates is something that can vary depending on circumstances, although what those circumstances are, is not clear to me.

Further Research is Required.TM (^_^)
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a little bit on iceland (and the faroe islands) from The Faroe Islands: Interpretations of History [pg. 14]:

“The Church’s power [in the faroe islands] was also moral, and the workings of ecclesiastical law may have contributed to the relative impoverishment of freeholders. We do not know what ecclesiastical law was in the Faroes before the Reformation; only that in 1584 the Løgting complied with Frederick II’s request that a compilation of late thirteenth-century Icelandic law called the Stóridómur continue to be valid in the Faroes. Among other things, the Stóridómur set the bounds within which kinsmen were forbidden to marry; since marriage between cousins was held to be incestuous, lands divided by inheritance could not easily be recombined. After the Reformation, the Stóridómur was supplemented by secular laws prescribing harsh punishments for bearing or fathering children out of wedlock (death, if the parents were cousins) and allowing couples to marry only if they had a certain amount of land. Similar restrictions on marriage were in effect earlier as well. It could hardly be otherwise in so ecologically precarious a land, where overpopulation was always a threat. Thus the Seyðabræv had ‘established certain requirements for a man if he was to be able to marry and set up his own house’: none could do so without being able to support at least three cows. In effect, the poor were forbidden to marry.”

so it sounds as though by at least the 1580s — and very likely the late 1200s — cousin marriage was banned in iceland in this stóridómur (and, then, from at least the 1580s onwards on the faroe islands). that cousin marriage was banned in iceland starting in the late 1200s — if that’s what happened (i’m still not sure yet) — would fit my prediction that cousin marriage was probably banned there when the norwegian crown took over iceland in 1262. my bet is that the ban was introduced to the island at that point in time from the continent.

i haven’t found out much about this stóridómur — here is the icelandic wikipedia page google translated. sounds like it wasn’t compiled until the 1560s, but, perhaps, based upon earlier law tracts? dunno. it does mean something like “big judgement” or something like that.

and how about the faroe islands there?! those were some eugenical practices (if they enforced them, which it actually sounds like they did, if you read through the book above)! the faroese ought to be geniuses! (~_^)
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finally…

conclusion: we need more physicists studying/being interested in human biodiversity/sociobiology/anthropolgy!:

(probable) reason: they’re more logical/have higher iqs.

examples: greg cochran, steve hsu, william shockley, and — i didn’t know — napoleon chagnon (h/t g-nice!):

“Darkness in Anthropology: A Conversation with Napoleon Chagnon”

“Iannone: How did your interest in anthropology begin? What made you want to be an anthropologist?

“Chagnon: My original major as an undergraduate in a local two-year college — Michigan College of Mining and Technology — was physics. At that time I had never heard of anthropology. I transferred to the University of Michigan after my first year and discovered that ‘physics’ was in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts and I would have to take courses in each of these fields. The only thing I could fit into my schedule for the social science requirement was a course in a field called anthropology.”

(^_^)

(note: comments do not require an email. the faroe islands!)

15 Comments

  1. “so it seems like the effect of emigration on cousin marriage rates is something that can vary depending on circumstances, although what those circumstances are, is not clear to me.”

    One factor may be group immigration versus individual. For example some of the early Pakistani immigration involved people from a big valley that was being flooded for a dam so an entire population moved en masse. Immigration of individual families from hundreds of different villages may turn out differently?

    .

    “and how about the faroe islands there?! those were some eugenical practices (if they enforced them, which it actually sounds like they did, if you read through the book above)! the faroese ought to be geniuses!”

    Particularly healthy at least? I wonder if anyone will do symmetry tests on different populations to see if there are dramatic differences in levels of facial symmetry.

    Reply

  2. Does this explain England? Constant tides of immigration in forced wave after wave to marry cousins at lower rates, kickstarting their outbreeding.

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  3. @sobl1 – “Does this explain England? Constant tides of immigration in forced wave after wave to marry cousins at lower rates, kickstarting their outbreeding.”

    i don’t think so, no.

    there’s ample historic evidence to show that the anglo-saxons, for instance, were marrying their cousins (who knows at what sort of rates, though) — see here and here. perhaps those that migrated to england did start to marry their cousins less frequently just because they didn’t have any cousins at hand, but it couldn’t have been much of a shift since the church and tptb went through all the hassle to ban cousin marriages — edict after edict, law after law. it was all kinda nuts, really.

    don’t know about the vikings. doubt it.

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  4. I live in a southern US city brimming with Kurdish refugees . Many are extremely funny looking: asymmetric or long faces, with incredible noses. Inbreeding, I tell myself, they will look more normal as soon as they begin to mate with people from a different village. But my male Kurdish students seem to all be going back to Iraq to find a wife. If they are following the pattern of my Pakistani students, they are going back to find a cousin as a wife. Bring the whole extended family to the promised land! If that’s the case, their offspring will also be funny looking.

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  5. @grey – “One factor may be group immigration versus individual…. Immigration of individual families from hundreds of different villages may turn out differently?”

    absolutely. although nowadays with modern air travel it’s pretty easy to send for a bride from back home. hasn’t denmark (or somewhere like that) banned — or made very difficult — arranged marriages like that?

    i wonder what the story was with those kurds. need to get ahold of that article. might actually need to leave the house and go to the library…. (~_^)

    @grey – “I wonder if anyone will do symmetry tests on different populations to see if there are dramatic differences in levels of facial symmetry.”

    that would be cool! (^_^)

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  6. @ghazi-less – “But my male Kurdish students seem to all be going back to Iraq to find a wife. If they are following the pattern of my Pakistani students, they are going back to find a cousin as a wife.”

    oops! yes, they very well could be. as i tweeted earlier today, kurds in iran, for instance, in the 1990s were marrying their cousins (first and second) at rates of anywhere from 33-52% — and from a 2008 study, kurds in turkey were marrying their first cousins at a rate of 36% — so it’s not like kurds don’t go in for cousin marriage.

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  7. “kickstarted the outbreeding”

    neigh

    re asymmetry – my impression is that asymmetry occurs in those populations with multiple paternal lines. The kurds are the remains of the indigenous population of the area known as kurdistan – i.e. the mountains where livestock farming originated.

    The first group of people were G haplogroup, which is now found mostly only in Georgia (about 30%). Otzi is thought to be G and the monk on top of the hill in Georgia looks strikingly like the Otzi reconstruction.

    Then came I, R and J.

    Kurds, according to Eupedia, in Turkey and Iraq, are not the same admixtures and are differently related to the main population of the country – in Iraq being I think quite similar.

    Kate

    Reply

  8. “although nowadays with modern air travel it’s pretty easy to send for a bride from back home.”

    Yes i was thinking of your historical examples from the past – whole villages moving en masse or individual families from multiple villages.

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  9. “that would be cool!”

    yes, i have a real thing now for looking out for facial symmetry among groups. it was interesting seeing how a lot of irish travellers have that – but they still have a massive mortality rate. i wonder if the kurds were less funny-looking 200 years ago?

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  10. to explain my last comment better. irish travellers don’t seem particularly funny-looking – almost the opposite in fact. However they still have a very high mortality rate so i wonder if the inbreeding marriage pattern works okay when you have 12 kids but 10 die.

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  11. @grey – “Yes i was thinking of your historical examples from the past – whole villages moving en masse or individual families from multiple villages.”

    gotcha!

    Reply

  12. @grey – “…i wonder if the inbreeding marriage pattern works okay when you have 12 kids but 10 die.”

    must be depressing. =/ or maybe people get used to it? or maybe some peoples feel differently about losing that many kids? (are we just spoiled in the modern, western world?)

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  13. “must be depressing. =/ or maybe people get used to it?”

    logically you’d think the traits neccessary to make parents care adequately for their surviving kids by neccessity would make it impossible to get used to it?

    dunno though

    Reply

  14. Early English settlers in the North American colonies were losing kids at similar, if it quite a high, rates, mostly to disease. The natural response seems to be to just have more kids.

    Reply

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