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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consanguinity and polygamy

sean suggests that there is a correlation between consanguintiy and polygamy (or, rather, polygamy and consanguinity). i don’t know if anyone’s ever looked for a correlation between the two. if they have, i haven’t seen it. what someone should do is take the populations from consang.net (not the nations but the populations) and see if there is any correlation between consanguinity and polygamy or not. i’ve put that task on my “to do” list, but i can’t promise that i’ll get to it any time soon.

what i have done is check murdock‘s ethnographic atlas to see what sorts of societies (monogamous, occasionally polygamous, or polygamous) are also consanguineous (here consanguineous means first or second cousin marriage — i haven’t included uncle-niece marriages as that info is not available in the murdock atlas).

the cross tabs i used were DOMESTIC ORGANIZATION and NUMBER OF COUSIN MARRIAGES [Allowed]. the results are sorted into the following rows…

– Missing Data
– Indep. Nuclear Family – Monogamous
– Indep. Nuclear Family – Occasional polygyny
– Indep. Polyandrous Families
– Polygynous – Unusual Co-wives Pattern
– Polygynous – Usual Co-wives Pattern
– Minimal (stem) extended families
– Small extended families
– Large extended families

…and columns…

– Missing Data
– All four cousins
– Three of four cousins
– Two of four cousins
– One of four cousins
– No first cousins
– 1st & some 2nd cousins
– No 1st – 2nd unknown
– No 1st or 2nd cousins

i skipped the two “Missing Data” groups (fourteen results). i also skipped the “No 1st – 2nd uknown” group (twenty-seven results) since the presence or absence of second-cousin marriage was unknown. left out the polyandrous groups (all three of them), too. and i also drilled down (manually!) in the extended family categories (minimal/stem, small extended, and large extended) to check for consanguinity and polygamy there ’cause i couldn’t figure out how work that into the table (you’re welcome). i then combined all the monogamous, occasionally polygamous, and polygamous groups together (n=142 in total).

what did i find?:

consanguinity and polygamy 02

well, for one thing, there’s a lot more polygamy and occasional polygamy out there in the world than monogamy, but then we all knew that already, didn’t we? there’s also more consanguineous marriage practices out there than not — or, at least, they’re allowed in more societies than not — but we’re all starting to know that now, too, aren’t we? (^_^) even in monogamous societies, there are twice as many that allow some form of cousin marriage (first or second) than those that don’t allow any.

the rate of consanguineous to non-consanguineous marriage allowed in monogamous societies is about 2:1. in polygamous and occasionally polygamous societies it’s about 2.5:1. so, yeah — there are more consanguineous marriages permitted in polygamous societies than monogamous ones, but is the correlation between the two (consanguinity and polygamy) very strong? i dunno. doesn’t really seem like it, but you tell me.

in Ya̧nomamö, chagnon suggests that groups that practice polygamy marry their cousins with greater frequency partly because the individuals in those societies have more cousins. he gives as example two ya̧nomamö extended families, one that had a founder with more wives than the other. because he founded so many lineages, as it were, the descendants of the guy with more wives were able to more easily find a cousin to marry simply because more persons who were their cousins existed. don’t know if this holds true for other polygamous groups, but it’s an interesting idea.

here are the numbers for you:

consanguinity and polygamy 03

consanguinity and polygamy 04

btw, the monogamous groups which allow(ed) cousin marriage are:

– the inca
– the badjau (pacific region)
– the burmese
– the romans
– the bribri (south america)
– the chinese (in chekiang)
– the tuareg
– the copper eskimo
– the lapps
– the iban (pacific region)
– the japanese (southern okayama)
– in the punjab (west)
– the vedda
– the yapese (pacific region)
– the manchu (aigun district)
– the kaska (north america)
– the toradja (pacific region)

(note: comments do not require an email. some toradja folks.)

freaky polygamy

here’s a fundamentalist moromon mormon(!) guy with his three wives (not that there’s anything wrong with that! – apart from the fact that there must now be two fundamentalist mormon guys without wives…) and 18 of their 24 collective kids.

the unusual thing (i guess) is: two of the wives are sisters — twin sisters! — and the third wife is their cousin. mamma mia!

i got to thinking about the kids (who all look cute as buttons! – except for the one guy in the back who’s going through some severe teen angst by the look of it). the kids of the two sisters are both half-siblings (’cause they have the same dad but different moms) AND first-cousins (’cause their moms are sisters) to one another.

got that? ok.

the kids of the cousin are half-siblings to the twin sisters’ kids (’cause they all share the same dad but different moms) AND they’re first-cousins-once-removed (’cause their moms are first cousins) to them.

BUUUUUUUT … the two sisters are twin sisters, so they must share virtually identical genomes, right? so that must mean that their kids are genetically similar to one another as though they were full siblings even though they have two different moms.

whoa.

see: The twin sisters who share a HUSBAND (and he’s also married to their cousin)

(note: comments do not require an email. i am my own grandpa.)

monogamy, serial monogamy, and polygamy

laura betzig makes a convincing argument that, especially for the elites — both secular and clerical (think popes and bishops) — marriage in medieval europe might have been monogamous, but mating wasn’t. not only were the elites not all that monogamous in their mating practices, many of them were also incestuous [pgs. 185-86]:

“In the same vein — and maybe richest of all accounts — is Lambert of Ardres’ ‘Historia comitum Ghisnensium,’ the early thirteenth-century pean to his benefactor, Count Baudouin. Marc Bloch calls Baudouin ‘hunter, toper, and great wencher’ (1961, p. 104), and Georges Duby has made a lot of the last. As he puts it: ‘Life in a noble household was a hotbed of sex’ (1983, p. 70). Or, as Lambert says: ‘”From the beginning of adolescence until his old age, his loins were stirred by the intemperance of an impatient libido…; very young girls, and especially virgins, aroused his desire”‘ (Duby 1978, p. 93). Roissy Baudouin and his kinsmen are said to have preferred pretty women; no matter how casually sexually encountered they are all described as ‘beautiful.’ And, evidently, fruitful: This count was buried with twenty-three bastards in attendance, besides ten living legitimate daughters and sons (p. 94).

“Even these might have been just the fruits of the family tree’s primary limbs. As Lambert notes, Baudouin by no means kept account of all his bastards. These were usually scattered far and wide. And, as Duby notes, noble men would just as soon have the ignoble women — the servants, slaves, and whores — who begot so many of them. The lovers noble men did remember may have included their vassals’ daughters, ‘but there is more evidence that they were the family’s bastard daughters, who formed a kind of pleasure reserve within the house itself’ (Duby 1978, p. 94). This kind of sex was, then, endogamous. Noble or half-noble women begat noble or half-nobel children, ad infinitum. ‘Illegitimacy was a normal part of the structure of ordinary society — so normal that illegitimate children, especially males, were neither concealed nor rejected’ (Duby 1983, p. 262). They always had the right, at least, to bed and board in their father’s house. ‘That house was always open to them’ (p. 263.) Bastards like these, the cream of the illegitimate crop, are most likely to have made up the twenty-three who watched when Baudouin was interred.”

so, not a big surprise, powerful men in the middle ages tried to maximize the number of offspring they had. and they even mated somewhat incestuously sometimes.

this made me wonder how different marriage or mating patterns affect relatedness within a society — apart from mating with relatives or not, that is. i mean: how does monogamy or polygamy affect the relatedness between the members of a society?

so, forget about cousin marriage and all that jazz for a second. here’s what strict monogamy looks like (think christian europe). (yes, i know there’s always a little hanky-panky — the milkman and mrs. jones, for instance — this is just schematic.):

first of all, triangles are men and circles are women. i colorized only the men ’cause it just got too confusing to colorize everybody. the women have been numbered instead. the point is that, here in strict monogamy land, there are six men and six women, none of whom are related, who marry/mate, and each pair has two kids. each pair of kids, then, (barring any hanky-panky) is related to their parents and each other, but not to anybody else in their society. each little nuclear-family is a discrete, “atomized” group. (this isn’t completely the case in a real population, of course. in every natural society, the members are related somehow, even if it’s distantly.)

in contrast, polygamy narrows the gene pool since one man can have several wives. thus there are several sets of half-brothers and half-sisters within polygamy land who are (obviously) all related to one another (think arab and many african countries). and some men fall out of the gene pool altogether. here mr. green marries contestants women numbers 3, 4, 5 and 6, while messrs. red, orange and yellow are out of luck:

so, with polygamy, the gene pool within a society narrows. in reality, what typically happens, at least in arab/muslim societies, is that the polygamy occurs frequently within the extended family, so that the gene pool narrows even more within the extended family. the other thing that often happens — particularly in arab countries — is that there is a lot of divorce, so in reality you have something like a serial monogamy, only it’s a serially polygamous society.

(whew! this is gettin’ complicated. *hbd chick wipes brow*)

finally, serial monogamy (think the amhara of ethiopia — or modern western society):

here in my schematic serial monogamy land, each of the men has married twice to two different women and has had one kid with each of them. so, each kid has one half-sibling via his father AND one half-sibling via his mother. so, the relatedness is not quite as narrow as in a polygamous society (every man does get to produce offspring) — but at the same time, there are more genetic connections between the members of the society than in a strict monogamy. (in reality, serial monogamy is often more like polygamy since many women vie for the chance to mate with the best men, while the whiskeys of the world are left out in the cold.)

in strict monogamy, in the second generation, each child shares (probably) 50% of their genes with their one and only sibling. in serial monogamy, each child shares (probably) 25% of their genes with two siblings. the connections look like this (plus the kids of mr. blue and mr. yellow at the ends are also related):

complicated, huh?

(btw — in polygamy, each child shares (probably) 50% of their genes with the sibling with whom they share a mother, and (probably) 25% of their genes with their half-siblings via their father.)

so, if we recall again that in a natural population the members of a society do, of course, share a lot of genes in common, then we can see that a strict monogamy would keep the genetic ties between non-family members “broad but shallow”; a population practising serial monogamy has somewhat narrower and deeper genetic ties between non-immediate family members, i.e. extended familiy ties within the society are stronger; and polygamy leads to narrow and deep genetic ties within the extended family, which becomes somewhat cut-off from the larger society. (this is even more so the case when you recall that cousin-marriage is common in polygamous societies.)

i think that the coporate and individualistic nature of western europeans (especially the english!) is connected to the (somewhat) strictly monogamous, non-cousin marriage mating patterns which have been around since the early medieval period in much of europe. these mating patterns set the stage for the selection of certain personality traits — individualism + clark’s traits — since western european families were mostly discrete and independent units making their own way in the world. these traits made western european man what he is today was yesterday.

the fact that europeans (including those of us in the u.s., australia, etc.) are now adopting serial monogamy must mean big changes are in store.

edit: boilerplate and boilerplate 2.0

(note: comments do not require an email. strictly monogamous.)

sperm donation and possible inbreeding – oops!

from the nyt (ghengis khan, move over!):

“One Sperm Donor, 150 Offspring”

“Cynthia Daily and her partner used a sperm donor to conceive a baby seven years ago, and they hoped that one day their son would get to know some of his half siblings — an extended family of sorts for modern times.

“So Ms. Daily searched a Web-based registry for other children fathered by the same donor and helped to create an online group to track them. Over the years, she watched the number of children in her son’s group grow.

“And grow.

“Today there are 150 children, all conceived with sperm from one donor, in this group of half siblings, and more are on the way. ‘It’s wild when we see them all together — they all look alike,’ said Ms. Daily, 48, a social worker in the Washington area who sometimes vacations with other families in her son’s group.

“As more women choose to have babies on their own, and the number of children born through artificial insemination increases, outsize groups of donor siblings are starting to appear. While Ms. Daily’s group is among the largest, many others comprising 50 or more half siblings are cropping up on Web sites and in chat groups, where sperm donors are tagged with unique identifying numbers.

“Now, there is growing concern among parents, donors and medical experts about potential negative consequences of having so many children fathered by the same donors, including the possibility that genes for rare diseases could be spread more widely through the population. Some experts are even calling attention to the increased odds of accidental incest between half sisters and half brothers, who often live close to one another.

oops! i wonder what the odds are for such accidental incest between half-siblings living in the same area? the calculation shouldn’t just be a numerical one (x number of half-siblings divided by the total population, or however the h*ck you’d do the math). no, you’d also need to factor in the fact that siblings would more likely be drawn to similar interests and, therefore, might be even more likely to meet: they both might wind up in the same discipline at the same local university or both wind up taking guitar lessons or whatever.

and when they do meet, there are good chances that they’d be — as they’d prolly experience it — inexplicably attracted to each other in the strongest possible way:

“Fast-forward then to 20 years later when another young man and woman, this time James and Maura [half-siblings that never knew each other], meet in eerily similar circumstances.

“Both of them happen to be out socialising with friends in a town which neither of them is from. They are instantly smitten. So strong is their incredible mutual attraction for one another, that a week later both of them feel they have known each other for a lifetime.

that’s because they share a great number of genes with one another.

normally, when children are raised together (and they have to actually have physical contact with one another as children, i.e. play together) between the ages of 0-6, a kind of imprinting happens which typically makes them NOT sexually attracted to each other when they grow up — i.e. the westermarck effect. siblings or half-siblings raised apart miss out on this imprinting, so if they meet each other as adults, they often experience this “incredible mutal attraction.”

the couple in the story above, james and maura, actually married and have had a couple of kids together. i don’t think this is a problem. even though we have a taboo against siblings mating, it’s really not morally despicable for siblings to mate if you think about it. as a society, we wouldn’t want it to happen all of the time on a regular basis — too much inbreeding, not good. but occasionally? i’ll give ’em a pass — especially in these accidental cases.

i would recommend such a couple to have some genetic screening done first, tho, before having kids, just to be safe. half-siblings are, obviously, not as related to one another as full-siblings; but, rather, to the same degree as an uncle-niece/aunt-nephew. iow, more than first-cousins. (the same as double first-cousins, tho, which is a common form of cousin marriage in places like saudi arabia.)

the question remains, however, what does all this sperm donation mean for our society? what does it mean when one man fathers 150+ children? well, it’s really just a form of polygamy in a way, isn’t it? or, at least, it kinda-sorta has a similar side-effect — a greater number of individuals who are related to one another as half-siblings.

what if this were done on a huge scale? what would the effects be? i’m not sure. if you did it repeatedly over many generations, i guess you’d eventually wind up with some sort of clannish or tribal society. maybe more clannish than tribal (you’d need some focused inbreeding for that, i think) — but only if everybody stayed put in the areas in which they were raised.

if you — and this is obviously only an extremely hypothetical situation that would never happen in reality — if you made sure to move everybody, or maybe half the population, around every generation, shuffled them up, i guess you’d get a more cohesive society than we have today, for instance, because everybody would be more related, but we’d avoid the effects of clannishness from too much local inbreeding. you would’ve narrowed the gene pool by making almost everyone in society the descendants of, say, 1M men as opposed to 87M men. what you’d do with the 86M men who didn’t get to breed?…i dunno.

oh! i guess you could just arrange it so that all women had to have one child via a sperm donor but the rest she could have with her husband! that would narrow the gene pool, too. man, my skills are wasted. i’d be GREAT at this cultural revolution stuff! (those are all copies of “the selfish gene” that my followers are displaying.) (~_^)

if the idea that too much outbreeding has lead to too loose genetic ties in the west and, consequently, to the fragmentation of the west is correct — maybe more sperm donation (or polygamy) for a while is just what the doctor ordered! you wouldn’t want to do it forever, tho, ’cause then you’d just be left with some messed up tribal society or something.

(note: comments do not require an email. every sperm is sacred!)

side-effects of polygamy in three african societies

here’s a little data from the demographic and health surveys for three african nations where polygamy is common — benin (2006), burkina faso (2003), and nigeria (2008). these are the percentages of single (never married) men and women at different ages. as you can see, because of polygamy (which creates a shortage of women), it takes longer for men to get married (a first time).

in benin, we don’t see a majority of men (76%) being married until after age 25. the vast majority of women are married by ages 20-24:

in burkina faso, again, a majority of men (~60%) are not married until after age 25. 84% of women are married by age 24:

in nigeria, a majority of men (76%) are not married until between the ages of 30-34. 62% of women are married by the age of 24:

in all three countries, a majority of men aged 45+ (98-99%) are married, but there’s a h*ckuva long wait for so many men!

see also: solving the “polygamy problem”? and more on solving the “polygamy problem”

(note: comments do not require an email. or a marriage license.)

more on solving the “polygamy problem”

ah-ha!:

“A major trait distinguishes the African family models as a whole from their European, American and Asiatic equivalents: widespread polygyny, which is only one central element of a whole system. The numbers of men and women in any community being roughly the same, a proportion of polygamous marriages of 30 per cent or more of all unions implies the existence of peculiar demographic mechanisms. One of these is a wide age difference between husband and wife. Women marry much younger than men and on average have more years of married life: the excess of ‘female married years’ is what makes general polygamy possible. To create a demographic balance, remarriage has to be frequent. Often it is not a question of remarriage but simply of inheritance, a widow being automatically transferred as wife to the man designated by the rules of succession. This implies a certain weakness or even the non-existence of prohibitions on marriages between affines; a man can inherit wives from his brother and from his father, although naturally his own mother is excluded. This practice, which is fairly frequent in Africa, flagrantly contravenes bothe the Christian and the Muslim teaching on incest.” [The Explanation of Ideology, pg. 192]

so, i think i may have been on the right track re. solving the “polygamy problem” (i.e. that if some men hoard all the women, other men will be cheated out of a chance to get a wife/wives). the trick must be to recirculate the women as much as possible. i suggested divorce as a possible strategy. in african societies, some men just inherit wives from male family members.

perhaps other men are still left out, tho. maybe women just circulate around the “alpha male” circles. getting your hands on some captive, slave women (as suggested by greying wanderer) is probably another solution.

previously: solving the “polygamy problem”?

update 06/22: see also side-effects of polygamy in three african societies

(note: comments do not require an email. stay away from those sabine women!)