Secular trends in physical growth and maturation in 7 to 21 year-old Bengali boys and girls from Kolkata, India, over six decades of time interval

Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 30 – n.3-4 – 2016

KEY WORDS: Adolescent growth spurt, standing height, sitting height, subischial leg length, biacromial diameter, bi-iliocristal diameter, secular trends.

Abstract
In the backdrop of ongoing socioeconomic transition in India, a cross-sectional growth and socioeconomic survey was under-taken in the families of 4194 Bengali children, adolescents and youth of both sexes aged 7.0 to 21.0 years from Kolkata city, India during 1999-2011.The objective of the study was to in-vestigate secular trends phenomena in the measures of physical growth and maturation of three linear and two width measures (standing height, sitting height, subischial leg length, biacromial and bi-iliocristal diameters) through comparisons of results of the present study with two earlier growth studies (1952-66 and 1982-83) carried out in the same population during the pre-transitional period of the country (before 1990s). The possible influences of socioeconomic, demographic and public health related factors have also been investigated. Approximately over six decades of time difference, mean values of anthropometric measures increased in both sexes and that was more evident during ado-lescent years than at maturity. In standing height, the highest increase of mean value was 14.4 cm for boys at 13.0 years and 11.8 cm for girls at 10.0 and 11.0 years of age. In adulthood, averages of four body dimensions (except bi-iliocristal diam-eter) increased in a lesser magnitude than the increase found during adolescent years. Mean of adult standing height in males increased by 3.0 cm of which increase in mean of subischial leg length was greater (1.8 cm) than the increment in mean sit-ting height (1.2 cm). Increased standard deviation values over time indicated early initiation of adolescent growth spurt of the contemporary children. Time of reaching peak of the spurt esti-mated by fitting Preece-Baines model 1, was found to be about two years ahead as recorded in the contemporary population compared to the children of earlier study periods. Finally, mean age at menarche (11.80 years) of the contemporary Kolkata girls was observed to have declined by 1.10 years over about four decades of time span.
Among the probable factors responsible for positive secular trends, came into the discussion, were improvements in sev-eral socioeconomic factors including maternal education level, monthly family expenditure per capita and decline in sibship size of the families. In addition, improvements in several im-portant parameters of public health, namely decline in infant mortality and morbidity rates, increase in life expectancy, child immunization rate and overall Human Development Index of Kolkata population appeared to be the secondary contributing factors for the observed trends.

 

Das, R.
Biological Anthropology Unit, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, India.

Das, S.
Department of Anthropology,
North Bengal University.

Datta Banik,
S. Department of Human Ecology.
Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados (Cinvestav del IPN),
Merida. Yucatan, Mexico.

Saha, R.
Dinabandhu Mahavidyalaya,
Bongaon,West Bengal.

Chakraborty, A.
Haltu High School for Girls, Kolkata.

Dasgupta, P.
Biological Anthropology Unit, Indian Statistical Institute,
Kolkata, India. 203, B.T. Road, Kolkata 700108, India
Email: paras@isical.ac.in; paras709@gmail.com

Differences in the Stature and Status of Two Populations in Medieval Cremona (Lombardy), Italy: Evidence from Human Skeletal Remains from Adjacent Urban Cemeteries

Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 30 – n.3-4 – 2016

KEY WORDS: Cremona, Italy, the Medieval Period, status and stature, human skeletons, urban health.

Abstract
Findings from statures that were calculated from the bones of a 14th century population buried along the Via Gerolamo in Cremona, Italy, have raised a number of new questions. There are two adjacent cemetery areas, representing burial locations serving two different parishes, though perhaps one area served the members of the parish, while the Via Gerolamo burials rep-resent the clergy who served that parish. The Via Gerolamo males represent a shorter population than that found buried in the nearby cemetery associated with the church of San Lorenzo. The evidence suggests that social class and other factors are significant variables that must be considered when evaluating any cemetery population and making inferences.
The extremely tall stature of the people interred (700-1800 CE) within and immediately around the church of San Lorenzo (Becker, 2016) and along the Via Gerolamo also suggests differences between rural and urban populations; the latter, commonly believed to be shorter than their country counter-parts, require closer examination. Why the males from the Via Gerolamo group, from a proximal burial site presumably serv-ing a different population within the same city, are shorter than the San Lorenzo males merits further ethnographic study. Dif-ferences between these two populations also demonstrate the need to evaluate the cemetery populations according to their specific locations and periods of time. One cannot assume that any given skeletal population represents an entire region or country, such as Italy, and an entire period, an inference com-monly made by historians and classical archaeologists.

Becker, M.J.
Emeritus Professor of Anthropology,
West Chester University of Pennsylvania,
West Chester, PA 19383, USA.
E-mail: mbecker@wcupa.edu

Female Circumcision (Infibulation) in Somalia: A Comparison of the Effectiveness of Two Projects Against Such Practices – the Waris Dirie Project and the Mana Abdurahman Project

Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 30 – n.3-4 – 2016

KEY WORDS: Somalia, female genital mutilation, infibulation, anti-FGM projects.

Abstract
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), in its bloodiest form, is endemic in the Horn of Africa, where infibulation (or phara-onic circumcision) is still practised today. To prevent it, local African populations have worked with projects that have not always proved effective. In this paper, two such projects carried out in Somalia are examined. Both have several characteristics in common: they aim to eradicate the same cultural practice – female circumcision; they were founded by women; and they are managed independently, with no Western intervention. The Somali founders were: Waris Dirie, a supermodel, now working with the United Nations against FGM, who left Somalia when she was still a child, now living and working abroad; and Mana Abdurahman (who died in 1974), the daughter of the sultan of Merka, who dedicated her whole life to her people. We compare how these two women tackled the problem, and examine the ef-fectiveness of their respective projects. Both demonstrate how a full commitment and a profound knowledge of the cultural roots of this practice are required if FGM is to be successfully eradicated.

Grassivaro Gallo, P.
Former Associate Professor of Anthropology at the Department
of Applied Psychology, University of Padua,
Via Venezia 8. Padova 35131, Italy. E-mail: pia.grassivaro@unipd.it

Mitochondrial Genetic Diversity in the Armenians: A Review

Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 30 – n.3-4 – 2016

KEY WORDS: Armenians, Armenian Highland, mtDNA, genetic structure.

Armenians are the indigenous people of the Armenian High-land with strong and distinct ethnocultural charateristics. Being a crossroad linking Europe and Asia, the Armenian Highland has experienced numerous ancient and recent migrations of different tribes and ethnic groups.  To describe the role of the Armenian plateau in these migrations and how the last influ-enced the ethnogenesis of the Armenian population, numerous population genetics studies have been recently performed on the Armenians. However, the matrilineal genetic legacy of the Armenian population, which is characterised by maternally transmitted mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is still poorly in-vestigated. Here, we review the current state of genetic studies performed so far on the Armenian matrilineal genetic structure.


Hovhannisyan, H.

Yepiskoposyan, L.
Laboratory of Ethnogenomics,
Institute of Molecular Biology, National Academy of Sciences,
Republic of Armenia, 7, Hasratyan Street, 0014, Yerevan, Armenia.

E-mail: grant.hovhannisyan@gmail.com; lepiskop@yahoo.com

Interaction between Steppe and Agricultural Tribes during the Bronze Age: Morphological Aspects

DOI: 10.14673/IJA2016121026

Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 31 – n.1-2 – 2016

Key words: anthropology, craniometry, burial grounds, cranial series, Middle Asia, Gonur.

Abstract

Here we discuss the results of research conducted on the variability of anthropological features of the populations of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, China, etc., from the Late Stone Age and Bronze Age. A detailed analysis was carried out on 85 craniological series from burial grounds at Gonur and Buston VI (see Table 1). We examined skulls from the steppe, forest-steppe, desert, and semi-desert areas of Central Asia, Ural, Siberia and the North Caucasus. Factor analysis was used to explore the data obtained. Four factors, describing more than 70% of craniological variations, were extracted. The first factor (describing 29.6% of variability) differentiated groups according to the lengthwise sizes of the head and face, mostly taking into consideration cranial breadth, bezygomatic diameter, and orbit width, as well as minimum frontal diameters, upper face and nose heights. The second factor (17.4% of variability) differentiated groups mainly according to facial height, nose and orbit heights. The highest loadings of the third factor, which determined 14.9% of variability, considered important characteristics such as cranial length and breadth, and the fourth factor (10,4% of variability) – nose breadth. As a result, we identified two major anthropological groups: the first comprising North Kazakhstan, South Siberia, Altai, and Ural-Volga, populations with larger latitudinal proportions of the head and face, as well as a smaller width of the forehead, upper face height, and height of the nose; and the second comprising the southern territories, including the majority of the populations of Iran, Pakistan, the Indus valley, and the southern regions of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan as well, who had the opposite combination of features: long and narrow heads, high, narrow faces and noses, and round orbits. The analysis conducted has enabled us to affirm that Southern Turkmenistan manifestations of minimal impurities with regard to anthropological components, which could be linked to pastoral surroundings, were not seen prior to the middle of the 2nd millennium BC.

Dubova, N.A.

Department of Ethnoecology,
N.N. Miklukho-Maklai Institute
of Ethnology and Anthropology,
Russian Academy of Sciences,
119991 Moscow,
Leninski pr., 32A Russia.
E-mail: dubova_n@mail.ru

Saipov, A.B.

Department of Pedagogical Sciences,
M. Auezov South Kazakhstan

State University,
Shymkent 160012, Tauke pr., 5,
Kazakhstan.
E-mail: 7281190@mail.ru

Junusbayev, S.M.

Department of Pedagogical Sciences,
M. Auezov South Kazakhstan

State University,
Shymkent 160012, Tauke pr., 5,
Kazakhstan.
E-mail: Serik_1971_10@mail.ru

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Jews in Time and Space

DOI: 10.14673/IJA2016121025

Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 31 – n.1-2 – 2016

Key words: Jewish history, world history, logistic analysis, religious canon, Hebrew Bible, Talmud.

Abstract

Using data on the birthdate and birthplace of authors for the books of the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud, and the post-Talmudic rabbinic literature, this study quantitatively tracks Jewish history up to the 20th century revealing a series of pulses of cultural activity that can be represented as S-curves. The development of each of these main sections of the Jewish religious canon is shown to constitute an independent coherent development process. The pattern of successive pulses of books entering the Jewish canon persists over millennia. This shared canon, both stable and growing, allowed coordination between far-flung community networks. The geographic locations of the successive pulses trace the migratory pattern of the Jews over the course of world history spanning much of the globe. Analysis reveals a current 2000-year pulse of Jewish cultural activity with several centuries remaining before it reaches saturation. Modernity becomes evident in Jewish history with sustained pulses of activity in the arts and sciences beginning with the onset of political emancipation in Central and Western Europe and moving on to the United States. The method employed in this study sheds light on the continuous coherent development of a Jewish religious canon and offers new perspective on the historical migration of the Jewish people over the last three millennia.

Wernick, I.K.

Program for the Human Environment,
The Rockefeller University,
1230 York Ave,
New York, NY 10065, USA.
E-mail: iwernick@mail.rockefeller.edu

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Beyond the Featureless in Social Theory: Text-Play and Epistemology

DOI: 10.14673/IJA2016121024

Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 31 – n.1-2 – 2016

Key words: textuality, episteme, split signifier, transference, bracketing, cartesian anxiety, suspended denotation, intentionality, metaphor, map/territory.

Abstract

Experience of social facts are inherently underscored by literature, which actualizes data from the field, providing a virtual bridge for self-projection into the undefined. Written strategies are the spinal chord that allows the grafting of theories. Epistemology, in other words, is the result of weaving alphabets and cultural codes. Wolfgang Iser’s concept of text-play stands out here in light of the transcription of the immersive experience of being ‘there’ to create new psycho-dynamic theatres in the ‘here’ – as dictated by displacement-based anthro approaches to social fact (Geertz, 1988). Acted out in a self-unfolding that defies conceptuality, text-play takes on a life of its own insofar as it is the field’s derivative and transplant. By connecting literary materialism with the imaginary and the plastic, this bounce-back mechanism forms the flickering shadows behind the construction of knowledge, coagulates the bricks of the Atlantic pyramid, indiscriminately projects the poietic hook to the indicible. Embedded in its nocciolo, the strategy of the as if links social theory back to its subject, cuts out structuralism. Text-play marks the birth of the epistemological performative. For an anthropomorphic substantiation, I balance the key epistemological threads necessary for the architecture of anthro discourse – humanist construction, par excellence, of infinite story-telling: sapienza (la) of man about man. This article is a sequel to my take on the theory of interpretation published amid the colloquia of this journal in 2014. Integrating text-play function benefits an honest self-appraisal of the way the anthropologist films back.

Nazaruk, M.

Literary Anthropologist, Université de Montréal,
3015 Sherbrooke Ouest, Montréal, H3Z 1A1.
E-mail: iluzja@gmail.com

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Sociological Functionalism or Developmental Psychology as a Theoretical Foundation to Ethnology? Radcliffe-Brown´s Analysis of the Andaman Islanders´ Religious Beliefs Revised

DOI: 10.14673/IJA2016121023

Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 31 – n.1-2 – 2016

Key words: developmental psychology, functionalism, religion, magic, animism.

Abstract

Radcliffe-Brown described the religious and magical beliefs of the Andaman Islanders, especially their rites regarding the daylight and the seasons, their god Biliku and the cicadas, his children. He emphasized that these beliefs are by no means irrational or childish but express important social values or social functions. His book on the Andaman Islanders was a central contribution to functionalism, a theory that objected to the previously prevailing evolutionary anthropology and related developmental approaches. This article resumes the study of the research data, showing that functionalism cannot explain the belief systems of the islanders. It demonstrates that the cognitive-developmental approach has all the tools necessary in order to be able to explain the magical-religious worldview not only of these islanders but also of the whole archaic world. Ethnology, or social anthropology, is required to study the cognitive-developmental approach in order to establish a superior theoretical foundation.

Oesterdiekhoff, G.W.

Karlsruhe Institute for Technology,

Department of Sociology,

PO Box 6980,

76128 Karlsruhe, Germany.

Phone: (+49) 2043 31116

E-mail: oesterdiekhoff@t-online.de

 

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Half a Century of the Körmend Growth Study: BMI and Skinfold Values

DOI: 10.14673/IJA2016121022

Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 31 – n.1-2 – 2016

Key words: Körmend Growth Study, Body Mass Index, skinfold, Brückner-Egeson-Lockyer (BEL) cycle, chronobiology, Hungary.

Abstract

The Körmend Growth Study (KGS) – launched in 1958 and repeated at regular 10-year intervals – has proven changes in children’s growth and maturity, a secular trend phenomenon. The KGS body mass index (BMI) and skinfold datasets since 1958 clearly show traceable characteristic changes. Results of the 2008 survey correlate with those of the 2nd Hungarian National Growth Survey (2003-2006) and with the reference values of the Hungarian BMI cut-off points. Skinfold values, however, suggest the possibility of a transtridecadal Brückner-Egeson-Lockyer cycle characterizing changes in the anthropometric measurements of children. These recently acquired chronobiological findings throw new light upon the long-term changes of subcutaneous fat layers.

Tóth, G.A.

University of West Hungary,
Savaria Campus,

Laboratories of Human Biology,
Szombathely, Hungary.
E-mail: tgabor@ttk.nyme.hu*

Buda, B.L.

Private Practice for Neurosomnology,
Szombathely, Hungary.

Suskovics, C.

University of West Hungary,
Savaria Campus,
Faculty of Physical Education,
Szombathely, Hungary.

Cornélissen, G.

Halberg Chronobiology Center,
University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, USA.

 

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Human Skeletal Remains Associated with the Deconsecrated Church of San Lorenzo, Cremona (Lombardy), Italy

DOI: 10.14673/IJA2016121021

Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 31 – n.1-2 – 2016

Key words: human skeletal remains, Cremona, Italy, stature, early to post-medieval,
skeletal inventory.

Abstract

The deconsecrated church of San Lorenzo in Cremona, Italy was the third iteration of a religious building at this location. The original may have included part of an early Roman villa complex. Burials dating from the Roman period up to ca 1800 were recovered during archaeological research prior to the restoration and use of the structure as the new archaeological museum for the city of Cremona. Most of the human remains had been re-deposited in vaults within the church or disrupted over the centuries by a variety of processes associated with urbanization. The 57 individuals for whom stature could be calculated reveal an impressively tall population from the Early Medieval period to modern times. Using stature as a proxy for health and nutrition leads us to suggest that the people of Cremona had a successful adaptation to their rich environment during the post-Roman period, if not before.

Becker, M.J.

Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, West Chester University
of Pennsylvania,
West Chester, PA 19383, USA.
E-mail: mbecker@wcupa.edu

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