The Impact of Religious Factors on the North-West Population of Belarus at the End of the 19th Century

DOI: 10.14673/IJA2015341020
Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 30 – n.3-4 – 2015

Key words: North-West population of Belarus, Vidzy parish records, birth rates, religious factors and demographic processes.

Abstract
This article discusses the impact of religious factors on the North-West population of Belarus at the end of 19th century. An analysis of historiographical data has shown that religious factors were an important element of culture.  The author focused particularly on the impact of religion on birth rates. The approach of C. Goldscheider (2006) was used to analyze the relationship between religion and fertility. To establish the impact of religious factors, the author examined Vidzy parish church birth records from 1892-1896. This parish was selected for the following reasons: 1) Vidzy parish was the largest in the North-West of Belarus; 2) data on the parish were consistently recorded, without gaps during certain periods, and could therefore be considered reliable. The seasonal distribution of births provided an opportunity to analyze demographic events and determine seasonal rates. According to data from the church registers of Vidzy parish, births were registered according to the month of their conception. Table 1 shows that the months in which there were the maximum number of conceptions were April and June, and the months with the minimum number of conceptions were July and January. The author observed that the period of Lent, directly preceding Easter, significantly impacted on subsequent birth rates. Therefore, it can be assumed that the majority of the population strictly observed the rules of fasting, penitence, and abstinence dictated by the Christian faith. Hence, religious taboos are seen to have had a clear impact on demographic processes.

Krumpleuski, U.S.
Department of Anthropology and Ecology, Institute of History, The National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Minsk, Belarus.
E-mail: uladz.krumpleuski@gmail.com

Buy Now
€ 1,00

Timing and Pace of Changes in Puberty in Belarusian Polesye Schoolchildren Surveyed in 1976-1978 and in 2010-2012

DOI: 10.14673/IJA2015341019
Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 30 – n.3-4 – 2015

Key words: puberty, secondary sex characteristics, Belarusian Polesye schoolchildren, menarche.

Abstract
This article presents the results of a comparative analysis of indicators characterizing the development of secondary sex characteristics of Belarusian Polesye schoolchildren surveyed in 1976-1978 and in 2010-2012, from which the earlier onset of puberty in boys today was established. However, the pace of the development of secondary sex characteristics (pubic and axillary hair growth) was slower than that of boys surveyed 40 years ago, as a result of which the definitive stage of development, when sexual features are fully developed, was reached at the same time by both groups of boys.
Modern girls, on the other hand, began to mature and reached the definitive stage of development for secondary sex characteristics (enlarged breasts, pubic and axillary hair) significantly earlier (p <0.001) than their predecessors in the late 1970s. After 40 years, the average age at menarche had decreased by 1 year and 5 months.

Melnik, V.
Department of Normal Physiology, Gomel State Medical University, Gomel, Republic of Belarus.
E-mail: melnik76@tut.by

Kozakevich, N.
Department of Human Anatomy, Gomel State Medical University, Gomel, Republic of Belarus.
E-mail: natasa-1980@mail.ru

The Influence of Social and Biological Factors on the Somatotypes of Urban Schoolchildren from the City of Gomel in Belarus

DOI: 10.14673/IJA2015341018
Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 30 – n.3-4 – 2015

Key words: social and biological factors, morphological and functional indicators, children and adolescents, somatotype, Belarus.

Abstract
This article presents an analysis of the impact of social and biological factors on the physical and sexual development of urban schoolchildren from the city of Gomel, Belarus, surveyed in 2010-2012. In total, 1,693 boys and 1,757 girls were examined, between the ages of 7 to 17. It was found that the growth of urban schoolchildren was more influenced by biological factors than social ones. The most important biological factors influencing the formation of the morphofunctional statuses of school age children were length and weight at birth, duration of breast feeding, and the anthropometric status of the mother. Whereas, the important social factors were living conditions and levels of physical activity.

Melnik, V.А.
Department of Normal Physiology, Gomel State Medical University, Gomel, Republic of Belarus.
Email: melnik76@tut.by

Peculiarities in the Variability of Head Shape in Consecutive Generations of the Modern Belarusian Population

DOI: 10.14673/IJA2015341017
Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 30 – n.3-4 – 2015

Key words: modern Belarusian, population, cephalic index, brachycephalisation, debrachycephalisation.

Abstract
The population in the territory of Belarus is composed of two common anthropological types: the North-Belarusian (Baltic) type, and the South-Belarusian (Central European) type. Brachycephaly is a characteristic of the Belarusian people, the North-Belarusian anthropological type is less brachycephalic than the South-Belarusian type.
Variability of the cranium in consecutive generations of Belarusians has been largely determined by two contrasting phases of development: the Brachycephalisation phase (with increased values of cephalic index), which has alternated with the debrachycephalisation phase (with decreased values of cephalic index). As a result, when plotted on a graph the dynamics of the cephalic index mean values in consecutive generations of the Belarusian population can be seen to form a wavy line.
An increased value of the cephalic index in one generation is followed be a decreased value in the next generation(s).
This has led to alternations between more or less brachycephalic generations. The dynamics of mean values of the cephalic index in the populations of the northern and southern regions differ in respect of the type of wave curve, reflecting the regional specificity of the two-phased nature of head shape variability, a feature which can be attributed to the anthropological composition of the Belarusian population.
Peculiarities in the variability of the head shape noted in consecutive generations of the modern Belarusian population, indicate the absence of continual debrachycephalisation processes. Observed debrachycephalisation merely seems to reduce the growing value of this index in the process of brachycephalisation, thus contributing to maintaining normal variations in the skull of the Belarusian population.

Pamazanau, M.
Department of Anthropology and Ecology, Institute of History, The National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Minsk, Belarus.
E-mail: pamazanau@gmail.com; belantrop@tut.by

Secular Trends in the Primary Indicators of Physical Development in Children, Adolescents and Young People between the Ages of 4-18 from Minsk (from 1920s to 2000s)

DOI: 10.14673/IJA2015341016
Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 30 – n.3-4 – 2015

Key words: secular trends, growth acceleration, height, weight, chest circumference, children, Minsk, Belarus.

Abstract
Over the past 80 years (1925-2001/8) the physical development of children in the city of Minsk has undergone substantial changes. During the 20th century the developmental processes of growth acceleration were quite active and resulted in an increase in body length of more than 10 cm in both sexes: height in 18-year-old boys/girls increased on average by 1,61/1,37 cm/per decade between 1925 and 2001/8. At the turn of the 20th-21st centuries, a stabilization in growth processes was noted, as well as significant gracilization in the stature of girls, which can be partly explained by social factors. The growth processes of young boys and girls nowadays are more intense than those of previous generations. A faster pace of growth has revealed itself in the shift of growth curve crossing points. In 1925, the interval between the first and the second crossing was extended over time (it lasted for 5-7 years), however, in 2001/8 it had shrunk to 1-4 years. The changes witnessed in growth processes coincided with major changes in social, economic and political life – the fall of the Soviet Union, consolidation of Belarus’ independence, World War II, and urbanization processes.

Hurbo, T.L.
Department of Anthropology and Ecology, Institute of History,
The National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Minsk, Belarus.
E-mail: hurbo@mail.ru

Skrigan, G.V.
Department of Special Pedagogy and Psychology,
Maxim Tank Belarusian State Pedagogical University, Minsk, Belarus.
E-mail: galanca@mail.ru

Radygina, V.V.
Institute of Qualification Improvement and Vocational Retraining,
Maxim Tank Belarusian State Pedagogical University, Minsk, Belarus.
E-mail: radygina@yandex.by

Pamazanau, M.M.
Department of Anthropology and Ecology, Institute of History,
The National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Minsk, Belarus.
E-mail: pomnik@pisem.net

Morphofunctional Parameters of Students from Minsk in the Early 21th Century

DOI: 10.14673/IJA2015341015
Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 30 – n.3-4 – 2015

Key words: schoolchildren, physical development, anthropometric and functional features, Minsk, Belarus, 21st century.

Abstract
In the course of research, the morphological and functional fea-tures of more than 1,100 students from Minsk were examined in order to monitor their physical development. Data were collected in two complex studies, the first in the academic years 1999/2000, and the second in 2012/2013. Three age groups of children and adolescents (8, 13 and 17-year-olds) were examined. The total number of students being 1,162. This complex anthropological research program included the monitoring of longitudinal, latitudinal and circumferential sizes of the body and head, the weight of the body, and the thickness of fat folds, etc. Functional feature indicators for blood pressure, pulse rate, and hand dynamometry were also examined together with one other most informative index – adaptational potential.
A comparison was carried out between the morphological and functional features observed in the Minsk students in 1999/2000 and in 2012/2013. This revealed subsequent signs of physical growth that reached statistically significant levels. Significant improvement was evident in the values of physical development in schoolchildren monitored in 2012/2013 relative to those monitored in 1999/2000. An increase in body length, in 8 and 13-year-olds, and body weight and chest circumference, in the children and teenagers of all the studied age groups, testified to an acceleration of growth processes. The character of changes in the functional parameters of the Minsk students included signs of optimization of the cardiovascular system, plus positive dynamics in adaptational potential, and a tendency towards increased hand force.
In 1999/2000 the students’ physical development was subjected to difficult environmental conditions (it was soon after the Chernobyl accident) in the context of low socio-economic well-being (during the collapse of the Soviet Union), which clearly had negative impacts on the morphofunctional status of the younger generation.
Later, in 2012/2013, amid positive changes in the country, the indicators of physical development in the schoolchildren of Minsk considerably improved.

Polina, N.
Department of Anthropology and Ecology, Institute of History, The National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Minsk, Belarus.
E-mail: belantrop@tut.by

Changes in the Body Structures of the Urban Schoolchildren of Belarus Over Time

DOI: 10.14673/IJA2015341014
Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 30 – n.3-4 – 2015

Key words: children of Belarus, Chernobyl, anthropometric indices of head, face and body changes over time.

Abstract
Within the framework of a large anthropometric research programme, head, face and body sizes of schoolchildren from Pinsk (the southern territory of Belarus) and Polotsk (the northern territory) were examined in the academic years of 1984/1985 (before the accident at the Chernobyl Atomic Electric Power Station in 1986) and 2002/2003; in Polotsk they were also examined in 2012/2013, in other words, 17 and 27 years after the event. Three specific age groups of both sexes were studied: 8-year-olds (after the first growth acceleration), 13-year-olds (after pubertal growth acceleration in girls and prepubertal growth in boys) and 17-year-olds (having reached their defini-tive body size). At the beginning of the 2000s, a poor acceleration of growth processes was observed in schoolchildren of both cities, combined with a tendency toward gracilization of the skeleton. Unfavorable ecological and socio-economic conditions from 1990 to 2003 negatively influenced the way children developed in prepubertal and pubertal periods. The improvement of socio-economic conditions in 2012 to 2013 was accompanied by improvements in the physical development of pupils, continuing growth acceleration, combined with gracilization of the skeleton.
A statistically significant reduction of the cephalic index (a process of debrachycephalisation) in combination with slight gracilization of the skeletal part of the face of schoolchildren in all age groups studied in the early 2000s continues to this day, both in the area of radiation control (Pinsk), and in an area that was conventionally clean, a more prosperous one in respect of ionizing radiation, in the northern territory of Belarus (Polotsk). The process of debrachycephalisation is clearly directed in time and is not determined by the gender or geographical location of the studied groups, it is part of microevolutional structural changes to the brain and skull, which may be an adaptive response of the forming body in modern populations due to increased pressure from a complex set of anthropogenic factors.

Salivon, I.
Polina, N.
Department of Anthropology and Ecology, Institute of History, The National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Minsk, Belarus.
E-mail:belantrop@tut.by

The Urban Population of Belarus in the 11th-19th Centuries: Craniological Characteristics

DOI: 10.14673/IJA2015341013
Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 30 – n.3-4 – 2015

Key words: Belarus, urban populations, craniological characteristics, secular trends.

Abstract

Results from a craniometrical study on a series of skulls from Slavic urban cemeteries are presented. The skulls date from the 11th-19th centuries. The earliest skulls (30 male and 15 female) examined in this study were from an urban cemetery in Novogrudok, in the Grodno region, in the west of Belarus, where they had been buried in soil in the late 11th- early 12th centuries. Other urban populations were represented by a series of skulls excavated from soil burial grounds in the following cities: Polotsk, the north of Belarus (45 male and 11 female skulls from the 17th-18th centuries); Gory (25 male and 18 female skulls from the 17th-18th centuries); and the central part of Minsk (19 male and 15 female skulls from the 17th-19th centuries). Comparisons revealed that the series from Novogrudok was the most dolichocranic. On the whole, with the exception of some slight differences, all the skulls in this series were fairly similar. Skulls from later periods, however, as opposed to those found at Novogrudo, were brachycranic. This would appear to correspond with a process of gradual gracilization and brahicefalization, which took place in most of Europe in the second millennium AD and has been observed in later groups of the population.

Salivon, I.
Department of Anthropology and Ecology, Institute of History, The National Academy of Sciences of Belarus,
Minsk, Belarus.
E-mail: belantrop@tut.by

Yemialyanchyk, V.A.
Department of National and World History, Polotsk State University, Novopolotsk, Belarus.
E-mail: oemel@tut.by

 

Variations in Body Length, Body Mass, Chest Circumference and Body Mass Index in Different Age Groups in Belarus

DOI: 10.14673/IJA2015341012
Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 30 – n.3-4 – 2015

Key words: rural Belarusians, urban population, body length, body mass, chest circumference, body mass index.

Abstract
An analysis of the physical development of the adult population of Belarus was carried out on the basis of existing anthropometric data on two groups of inhabitants: Belarusians living in rural areas (4,660 people studied in 1970-1986), and a mixed national population of the most urbanized industrial city of the country– Minsk (1,182 people studied in 1996-1997). All material was integrated into age and gender cohorts with 10-year intervals. A comparison of rural and urban cohorts of the same gender and age has shown that urban citizens differed from their rural counterparts by having greater values for body length and lower values for body mass and chest circumference. Moreover, with regard to the younger generation, one is more likely to observe a greater difference in body length and chest circumference, with increased values, compared to the older generation. This fact would seem to indicate a more intense process of acceleration combined with leptosomization of the body among the urban population. Average body mass index (BMI) values were seen to increase regularly with age, and values were greater in all age cohorts of the rural population compared to urban ones. Scales for rating BMI (by calculating low, average, and high values) were devised for each age and gender cohort of the rural and urban populations, taking into account signal deviations. The use of these scales allowed us to establish the main tendency for an increased frequency of high BMI values with a reduction in low and average values among both genders. The maximum increase in the frequency of high BMI values was observed at the onset of the reduction of hormonal activities in the female body (40-49 years), and the frequency of low BMI values reduced significantly among females. After 50 years, relative stability was noted in the distribution of the frequencies of three BMI values with minor differences between genders. Differences in the percentage distribution of BMI values between urban and rural samples were observed only in females, and low values of BMI were more common in females from urban areas.

Salivon, I.
Marfina, O.
Department of Anthropology and Ecology, Institute of History,
The National Academy of Sciences of Belarus,
Minsk, Belarus.
E-mail: belantrop@tut.by

The Impact of Migrations on the Anthropological Composition of the Belarus Population

DOI: 10.14673/IJA2015341011
Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 30 – n.3-4 – 2015

Key words: migration, Belarusians, anthropological composition of the population, gene pool.

Abstract
Migrations have always played an important role in contributing to the anthropological composition of the population of Belarus.
In particular, three massive migration flows significantly enhanced the population’s genetic pool. The first occurred about 10 thousand years ago, and led to the initial colonization of the territory following the retreat of the glacier. Settlements started from that period and began from the Southwest, South and Southeast, according to a study conducted by Belarusian geneticists on the distribution of Y-chromosome haplogroups in 18 groups of Belarusian males, whose ancestors had lived for three generations at their specific locations (Davydenko & Kushnerevich, 2011). The second massive migration flow (in the second half of the 3rd century to the first half of the 2nd millennium BC), about 5000 years ago, resulted in the spread of the population from a Western European territory in the region of modern Belarus; allegedly an Indo-European community, and the founders of the Corded Ware (shnurovoj ceramics) culture. The subsequent Hatched Pottery (shtrikhovannoj ceramics) culture orginated in the 7th to 6th centuries BC in the territories of eastern Lithuania, northern and central Belarus, and was associated with Baltic-speaking populations. The third major flow of migrants were Slavic tribes, who penetrated the territory of Belarus from the Northwest, West, Southwest and South in the second half of the 1st millennium BC. In all three cases, interactions between the incoming settlers and the native populations resulted in hostilities and gradual cultural assimilation.
Marital ties between incoming settlers and the native population changed the composition of the gene pool of subsequent generations. The populations of cities were formed from influxes by rural populations and migrants from distant parts, and the genetic heterogeneity of the townspeople also increased. More recent temporary migration flows to the territory of Belarus have been associated with wars, which further contributed to the alteration of the gene pool of the local population.
Such losses were replenished by the influx of previously geographically distant groups. The intensification of migratory flows in present times has further changed the gene pool formed over many centuries, thereby improving the population’s adaptability to its environmental conditions.

Marfina, O.
Salivon, I.
Department of Anthropology and Ecology, Institute of History,
The National Academy of Sciences of Belarus,
Minsk, Belarus.
E-mail: belantrop@tut.by