November 11, 2009

Spouse selection in Sardinia

American Journal of Physical Anthropology doi:10.1002/ajpa.21150

Spouse selection by health status and physical traits. Sardinia, 1856-1925

M. Manfredini et al.


Military medical information and data from civil registers of death and marriage have been used to study the role of physical characteristics and health conditions in explaining access to marriage for the male population of Alghero, a small city located in Sardinia Island (Italy), at the turn of 19th century. Literature data about contemporary populations have already demonstrated the influence of somatic traits in the mate choice. The results presented here show that men with low height and poor health status at the age of 20 were negatively selected for marriage. This holds true also in a society where families often arranged marriages for their children. This pattern of male selection on marriage was found to be particularly marked among the richest and wealthiest SES groups. Our hypothesis is that this social group carefully selected for marriage those individuals who were apparently healthier and therefore more likely to guarantee good health status and better life conditions to offspring. In evolutionary terms, the mate choice component of sexual selection suggests that the height of prospective partners could be claimed as one of the determinants, along with other environmental causes, of the observed higher stature of men belonging to the wealthiest social strata of the Alghero population.



Ken said...

Differences of sperm motility in mitochondrial DNA haplogroup U sublineages
"Moreover, the lineages with the cytb mutations were substantially enriched in northern Europe, while those lacking these mutations were more prevalent in southern Europe. We suggest that some of these ancient conserved cytb missense mutations permitted our ancestors to adapt to cold by partially uncoupling mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation OXPHOS"

Maju said whether mtDNA causes male infertility is trivial as such because mtDNA is transmitted ONLY via mothers

"Ironically, deleterious mtDNA mutations that affect only males, such as those that impair sperm function, will not be subject to natural selection because mitochondria are generally maternally inherited. Thus, such mutations may reach high frequencies affecting the viability of natural populations."

Sexual selection in the Magdalenian

"Sex ratio When early modern humans were hunter-gatherers, men and women procuredfood differently, both in type of food items and in size of foraging grounds. We see thisdivision of labor in contemporary hunter-gatherers. Whereas men hunt over relativelylarge territories, women gather fruits, vegetables, tubers, and eggs over small areas thatpermit infant care and transport (Kelly, 1995, pp. 268-269). Women thus move about in asmaller, more familiar space that has fewer life-threatening risks. As a result, they outlivemen and tend to outnumber them at all reproductive ages. This female surplus grows with increasing distance from the equator. Because theland supports fewer game animals per unit of land area, hunting distance increasesproportionately and hunters more often encounter mishaps (drowning, falls, coldexposure, etc.) or run out of food, especially if other food sources are scarce. These riskspeak in the ‘continental Arctic,’ where food is limited to dispersed and highly mobilegame animals that roam over expanses of steppe-tundra (Frost, 2006; Hoffecker, 2002,pp. 8-9; Kelly, 1995, pp. 128-132).Incidence of polygyny This second determinant of sexual selection likewise varies by latitude amonghunter-gatherers. The longer the winter, the more it costs a man to provision a secondwife and her children, since women cannot gather food in winter and depend more onmen for provisioning .[...] In the Arctic, where women have almost no opportunities forgathering, only the ablest hunter can provide for a second wife .

Ken said...

Strong sexual selection of women: hunting bands of the continental ArcticTogether, these two determinants yield a measure of the intensity of matecompetition: the operational sex ratio. This measure indicates that among hunter-gatherers, such as early modern humans, female-female rivalry for mates should intensifywith increasing distance from the equator, ultimately peaking in the steppe-tundra zone ofthe continental Arctic. Today, this environment is confined to the northern fringes of Eurasia and NorthAmerica, but during the last ice age (25,000 – 10,000 BP) it lay further south and coveredmore territory. This was especially so in Europe, where the Scandinavian icecap hadpushed the steppe-tundra zone down to the plains stretching from southwestern Francethrough northern Germany and into eastern Europe. "

When the Ice Age ended European mtDNA would be adapted to the Ice Age climate, food, and relaxed sexual selection of men. (Frost,2008

The mtDNA of the Tyrolean Iceman might have still been quite common at the time. When agriculture appeared the intensity of sexual selection of men would have become an important factor.Otzi could have been having fewer children because of his weak sperm due to the accumulated mutations mentioned above. Those "that affect only males, such as those that impair sperm function" wouldn't disadvantage women directly but a woman with such a mate would have her fitness reduce indirectly. Even if his fitness was only reduced 10% his wife's mtDNA would not be handed down to the same extent,hence the old Euro Ice Age mtDNA could be disadvantaged. Also eating a carbohydrate based diet could have reduced a woman's fitness directly.

Anonymous said...

You are obsessed with sperm motility.

I don't get understand. Oetzi your favorite man, had intact penis and testicles, so why did they not find some sperm in his frozen balls, in his frozen scrotum to test?

As one who does not accept the Paleolithic continuation of any human population into present day Europeans, I think all that stuff you said about diets and so on is utter rubbish. I don't accept the Paleolithic European origin of any haplogroups found in Europe. Haplogroup U* is so ancient it most likely predates the time of the Out of Africa exodus, and since the "oldest" exodus was along the south route via Arabia, South Asia to SE Asia and later to NE Asia, and Australia, where the heck is mtDNA U* in East Asians and Aboriginal Australians. It is more likely that mtDNA haplogroup left Africa by the Levantine route and stayed in the Middle East for thousands of years before entering Europe in the Mesolithic period already with its subclades, and one subclade returned to Africa along with mtDNA M1 about the same time. The Mesolithic period was not long before the coming of the Neolithic farmers into Europe and Africa from the Middle East.

Too many assumptions are made about mtDNA haplogroups as with Y chromome haplogroups which are totally unsupported by any facts. Facts like obtaining mtDNA from Paleolithic remains, Cro Magnon, Mladec, Grimaldi. What we have is some men murdered and placed in a cave in England 9,000 years ago before the Neolithic farmers advanced into the part of Europe. That is some big deal! Yawn.

Anonymous said...

This is what I say about Sardinians. What a bunch of dickheads! No wonder they are meaningless outliers in Europe, genetic dead ends. Height is so significant to those mostly short arsed people men who are short can't find a mate.

Doesn't affect jockeys. They get all the women they want.

An interesting fact: the size of a man's penis in whatever state, has nothing to do with your height. Also all non overweight men are the same height horizontally.

P.S I am not short, lol.

Gioiello said...

See the entry "penis" on Wikipedia and you'll have the penis' size in Turkey, Middle East, India. Then read the old book of Masters and Johnson on Human sexual behaviour and you'll have the European size and then you'll explain to me where they have taken those 5/6 centimeters more and which is the DNA mutation they had.

terryt said...

"It is more likely that mtDNA haplogroup left Africa by the Levantine route and stayed in the Middle East for thousands of years".

That makes far more sense to me than any migration via the very inhospitable South Arabian coastline into India. And then back out.