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Biological affinities between the migrant groups of fishermen of Puri Coast Orissa India.

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AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY 74:407-415 (1987)
Biological Affinities Between the Migrant Groups of Fishermen of
Puri Coast, Orissa, India
B. MOHAN REDDY, VIRENDRA P. CHOPRA, AND
DEBA P. MUKHERJEE
Institut fur Humanbiologie, Uniuersitat Hamburg, 2000 Hamburg 13,
Federal Republic of Germany (B.M.R., VPC.); Department ofAnthropology,
University of Calcutta, Calcutta-700 019, India (D.P.M.)
KEY WORDS
Anthropometry, Dermatoglyphics
ABSTRACT
Biological affinities between the three endogamous groups of
marine fishermen of Puri are examined with the help of nine anthropometric
measurements and 22 dermatoglyphic traits of fingers and palms. The results
are interpreted in the light of their ethnic, geographical, and migrational
backgrounds. Multiple discriminant analysis and Mahalanobis’s generalized
distances suggest higher discrimination of populations with reference to anthropometric traits as compared to that in dermatoglyphic variables. While
the nature of interpopulation distances conforms to the geographic pattern in
anthropometrics, no clear picture emerges in the dermatoglyphic distances
supporting either ethnic or geographic evidence.
Several groups of marine fishermen live Jalari. The marital exchange even between
along the 3,000-mile-longcoast of peninsular the VP and VV is found to be only 1%,while
India. They number over a million individu- that of these two with the Jalari is totally
als and constitute an important section of the nonexistent. Even in the parental places,
Indian peasantry, supplying fish protein. there is no evidence of frequent marital conMost of them still depend primarily on sea tacts between VP and W. However, accordfishing with the help of traditional boats and ing to Rao (1980), the Jalari, along with
nets and thus interact directly with the ma- Vadabalija and some other fishing groups,
rine environment. Excessive population den- belong to a subcaste of the main caste Vada
sity and consequent dwindling of resources Folk stories among them depict Vadabalija
has often led these people to emigrate to dif- as boat makers of Jalari who were supposed
ferent places in pursuit of better fishing. Such to be originally fishermen. This information
a situation is evident in some parts of coastal certainly suggests a long and close associaAndhra Pradesh, and therefore migrant fish- tion between the two castes. However, diverermen from these areas are found in several gence of these two, from a common stock, at
places, such as Andamans, Burma, and Puri. least in the remote past, cannot be altogether
Over 13,000 marine fishermen live perma- ruled out.
These groups present different migrational
nently in Puri (Fig. 1) and are collectively
called Nulia by the local Oriyas. They live in and geographical backgrounds as well. For
four different settlements on the beach. All example, while the VP migrated from about
the marine fishermen at Puri are migrants 48 villages of the East Godavari, West Godaand speak Telugu, a language spoken in the vari, and Visakapatnam districts of coastal
neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh. De- Andhra Pradesh (Fig. l), 30 years ago, the
mographic investigations among these peo- W and J did so a century ago from 42 and
ple (Reddy, 1984) suggest that they belong to 17 villages, respectively, from the Srikakuthree endogamous groups-namely, Vadabal- lam district of Andhra Pradesh and contigija of Penticotta (VP), Vadabalija of Vadapeta uous Ganjam district of Orissa. The W and
OW), and Jalari (4, and number roughly
8,000,4,000, and 800, respectively. However,
the VP and W belong to the same caste,
Received May 14,1986; revision accepted May 12,1987.
Vadabalija, which is socially different from
0 1987 ALAN R. LISS, INC.
408
B.M. REDDY, V.P. CHOPRA, AND D.P. MUKHERJEE
J thus have geographically overlapping habitats in Puri as well as in their original
places. Further, while the status of W and J
as local breeding populations is almost established, the VP has still active marital contacts with the parental places, and thus
represents a more widely spread VadabaZGa
population of coastal Andhra Pradesh. A
marked technological variation in terms of
boat size and fishing methods also exists between the VP on the one hand and W and J
on the other.
Puri thus presents a situation in which
there are three endogamous groups of fishermen living in a similar environment but
with different ethnic, migrational, and geographical backgrounds and with different degrees of reproductive isolation. In the light of
these backgrounds, the present paper aims
to examine the biological affinities of the people with the help of ecosensitive anthropometric traits and relatively stable dermatoglyphic variables. In the process, it also contributes to the knowledge of biological variation among a special occupational category,
the marine fishermen of India, who are hitherto little known, anthropologically.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
In the years 1977 and 1978,473 adult males
18 to 65 years of age belonging to the three
endogamous groups VP, W, and J were investigated. A set of nine anthropometric
measurements-stature (St), sitting height
(SH), head length (HL), head breadth (HB),
nasal height (NH), nasal breadth (NB), biacromial breadth (BAB), bicristal breadth
(BCB), and chest girth (CGt-were obtained
following methods given in Martin and Saller
(1957). All the measurements have been
taken by one of us (B.M.R.). In addition to
the anthropometric measurements, rolled
finger and palm prints of 394 males 8 to 75
years old were collected by the ink and roller
method (Cummins and Midlo, 1961).Twentytwo different quantitative variables, following Cummins and Midlo (1961) and Holt
(19681, were scored. The variables are ridge
counts on individual fingers, radial ridge
count, ulnar ridge count, total number of triradii on fingers and of triradii on palms, main
line index, and a-b ridge count. Left and right
hands are considered separately. Due to unfavourable field conditions, the two sets of
data could not be collected from the same
individuals. However, there is a considerable
overlap of the subjects.
Analysis of variance was applied to study
the interpopulation variation. The importance of these results is difficult to interpret
as the variables included are correlated.
Moreover, the human body is not made up of
independent varying parts but is a complex,
integrated system. Therefore, a multivariate
approach was considered proper. The data
have been subjected to multiple discriminant
anlaysis by using SAS package programs.
This method transforms original variables
into a set of multivariate vectors which are a
linear combination of independent variables.
In this process of transformations, correlations between variables are taken into consideration, and the ratio of among-group
variance to the total variance is maximized
(Tatsuoka, 1971). Mahalanobis’s generalized
distance (D2) has also been calculated between the groups.
RESULTS
Anthropometric measurements
Means and standard deviations along with
F-ratios and heritability estimates for each
of the measurements are presented in Table
1. Except for stature and sitting height, all
variables show significant population heterogeneity (P<.05). Although these results indicate that significant intergroup differences
exist, the overall pattern of variation is difficult to interpret. The problem lies in the correlation between variables and their treatment one at a time. The data, therefore, were
subjected to multiple discriminant analysis.
The multivariate approach in this study is
regarded as descriptive and heuristic as some
of the assumptions made in the analysis may
not be fulfilled. Our main concern lies in the
pattern of relative differences in the distance
between pairs of populations rather than in
statistical significance.
Table 2 and Figure 2 show the results of
discriminant analysis. Multivariate test statistics (Wilk’s lambda) suggest significant
differentiation (Table 2) among the groups.
The first canonical variate explains the major portion of the total dispersion (94.3%)and
is sufficient to differentiate VP from W and
J. Standard canonical coefficients show that
the variables bicristal breadth, stature, and
shoulder breadth are of importance in discriminating the groups on this axis. Although the second canonical variate explains
only about 5.6% of the total dispersion, it is
also statistically significant. On this axis, W
and J are on the two ends, while the VP is in
BIOLOGICAL AFFINITIES BETWEEN FISHERMEN, PURI
409
Fig. 1. Map showing the geographical location of Puri
and areas in coastal Andhra Pradesh and Orissa from
which the fishermen migrated.
the middle. Nasal height makes the largest
contribution to this canonical variable. Contributions of sitting height and head length
and breadth are rather low in discriminating
the groups. However, a stepwise discriminant analysis was carried out to judge the
discriminatory power of these variables. The
order of their contribution in discriminating
the groups is given in Table 3. Stature, which
has a nonsignificant F-value in the univariate analysis of variance, is significant in the
multivariate space.
An overall measure of population dissimilarity is Mahalanobis’s generalized distance
(D2). Table 4 presents results between pairs
of the three populations. The largest distance
is observed between the VP and J (6.54) and
the smallest is found between the W and J
(0.97). However, all the D2 values are statistically significant (P<.01). Here also the separation of VP from W and J is evident.
Intergroup differences in a particular situation may be affected more or less by genetic
or environmental components or by a combination of both. In order to assess the relative
importance of the genetic component in the
comparisons, we compared the heritability
estimates of the measurements along with
the F-ratios of within- and between-group
variances. The heritability estimates used in
the comparison are from the two populations
of fishermen from the places of origin of the
present groups. The estimates may, therefore, be considered as a close approximation
to the population-specificvalues. Spearman’s
rank correlation was computed between the
410
B.M. REDDY, V.P. CHOPRA, AND D.P. MUKHERJEE
enced more by the environmental component.
However, these results are to be interpreted
with caution. Heritability estimates and Fratios are based on univariate analysis and
therefore may not reflect precisely the role of
variables in discrimination as observed in
multivariate analysis, where the correlations between variables are removed. Nevertheless, as a rough approximation to the
underlying trend, this analysis may be useful. Further, we divided data into <30- and
1.40
> 30-years of age groups, based primarily on
the consideration that the VP migrated to
this area only 30 years ago. This would mean
that almost all the individuals in the younger
age group are born and brought up in the
same geographical region of h i and thus
have shared the same environment.
Discriminant analysis results based on
Wilk's lambda (Table 2) and D2 matrix (Table 5) show relatively lesser discrimination
for the younger generation when compared
to the older one. However, the basic pattern
1 .
I
remains the same. This is what we would
-1.40
-.70
0.0
.70
1.40
expect under the hypothesis of environmencanonical variate 1
tal convergence. But, if we look at the graphical representation of the group separation
Fig. 2. Plots of centroids of the populations based on
the discriminant analysis of anthropometric variables. on the canonical variates (Fig. 3), we find
VP, VadabalGa of Penticotta; W, VadabalGa of Vada- that the change is in the VV group rather
petq J , Jalari.
than in the VP. This change is difficult t o
heritability estimate and the magnitude of
univariate F-ratio of the measurements. The
correlation coefficient (rs= -50; .05 <P
< .lo) indicates that the measurements with
lower heritability tend to contribute more to
the intergroup differences. This would suggest that the pattern of variation is influ-
I
TABLE 1. Mean and standard deuiation of the nine anthropometric measurements along with F-ratios for
intergroup heterogeneity, and heritability estimates'
Variable (mm)
Stature
Sitting height
Head length
Head breadth
Nasal height
Nasal breadth
Biacromial breadth
Bicristal breadth
Chest girth
VP (N = 208)
Mean f SD
VV (N = 200)
Mean k SD
J ( N = 65)
Mean k SD
1,603.89 f 50.86
816.78 +_ 29.73
188.47 5 6.79
144.53 5.11
46.75 k 3.19
36.80 k 2.60
382.14 + 17.52
268.62 E 15.65
875.72 k 44.70
1,608.18 k 55.67
817.37 f 30.03
186.72 ? 6.60
143.98 f 4.60
45.51 f 2.89
37.59 k 2.65
369.21 17.05
247.36 13.48
858.24 ? 49.24
1,618.17 k 49.32
817.05 k 30.68
184.55 8.07
142.74 k 4.78
46.65 k 2.98
37.24 k 2.67
361.02 + 15.18
242.23 12.76
862.79 f 46.52
+
+
+
F-ratio
h2
1.83
0.02
0.65'
0.45'
0.643
0.563
0.483
0.463
0.46'
0.33'
0.304
8.81**
3.39*
9.09**
5.14**
50.55**
145.94**
20.25**
' V P , Vadabalija ofpenticotta; W, Vadabalija of Vadapeta;J , Jalari.
'Devi and Reddy (1983).
'Bernard et al. (1980).
4Kapooret al. (1985).
*P < .05.
**P < .01.
TABLE 2. Multivariate test statistics for differentiation among the groups
Wilk's lambda
F-value
df
P<
a) Anthropometrics
< 30 years
> 30 years
Pooled
0.503
0.368
0.452
0.778
18 by 450
18 by 452
18 by 924
44 by 740
.001
,001
b) Dermatoglyphics
10.25
16.31
25.04
2.25
Group
.001
,001
411
BIOLOGICAL AFFINITIES BETWEEN FISHERMEN, PURI
TABLE 3. Results on the step wise selection of variables that make
significant contributions to the group discrimination
Sequence
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Anthropometrics
Dermatoglyphics
Bicristal breadth
Stature
Biacromial breadth
Nasal breadth
Nasal height
Chest girth
Head length
a-b ridge count (L)
Triradii on palm (L)
Finger ridge count (L2)
Finger ridge count (L1)
Main line index (R)
Main line index (L)
Radial ridge count (L)
Finger ridge count (R3)
Ulnar ridge count (R)
Finger ridge count (R5)
8
9
10
m2)
TABLE 4. Mahalanobis's distance
between fishing groups based
on the nine anthroDometric variables
VP
vv
.T
-
3.6843*
6.5361*
0.9727"
VP
vv
-
J
-
*P < .05.
TABLE 5. Mahalanobis's distance D2)between fishing groups in the
young (< 30 years) and adult (> 30 years) generations
(Anthropometrics)
> 30years
VP
w
VP
< 30years
w
-
2.6879*
5.2126*
6.9130*
J
-
1.6741*
J
6.4317*
1.2395*
-
*P < .05.
1.40
explain and does not support the assumption
of environmental convergence. Since the intermarriage frequency between the VP and
(Reddy, 1984), the hypothVV is as low as 1%
esis of gene flow from VP to VV causing such
a shift can also be safely negated.
.70
hl
0)
CI
m
a
>
'L
0.0
-m
:.
C
-.70
0
c
m
0
-1.40
-1.40
-.70
0.0
.70
1.40
canonical variate 1
Fig. 3. The centroids of the groups in two age groups
(circles for <30- and crosses for > 30-years of age category) based on anthropometric variables.
Dermatoglyphics
The three groups of fishermen of Puri were
also investigated for dermatoglyphic traits of
the fingers and palms. Procedures for statistical analysis of these data were the same as
those used for anthropometric traits, enabling direct comparison of results.
Means and standard deviations, heritability estimates and the results of analysis of
variance are presented in Table 6. Only ten
of 22 variables studied show significant heterogeneity. However, multivariate treatment of the data shows significant discrimination milk's lambda, 0.778; F =2.25,
3Mukherjee(1966).
*P < .05.
**P< .01.
L
R
a-b ridge count (a-b RC)
'Das Chaudhury and Chopra (1983).
'Mueller and Chopra (1982).
L
R
L
Main line index (MLI)
R
L
R
L
No. of triradii on fingers (Tr.F)
Palm
No. of triradii on palm (Tr.P)
R
L
R
R1
R2
R3
R4
R5
L1
L2
L3
L4
L5
Ulnar ridge count (URC)
Radial ridge count (RRC)
Finger
Finger ridge counts (FRC)
Variables
5.86
5.91
9.28
7.79
36.39
37.69
18.51
11.83
13.37
16.38
13.93
16.84
11.07
14.07
16.68
14.18
71.39
70.36
28.62
27.35
6.93
6.84
*
1.06
1.04
1.92
2.19
6.26
6.34
5.91
5.93
4.73
5.50
4.48
6.01
6.17
5.31
5.06
4.31
19.89
21.60
25.55
24.93
1.83
1.87
VP(N = 160)
Mean SD
5.91
6.10
9.13
8.20
38.37
40.10
18.26
13.72
13.93
17.07
14.19
16.72
13.79
14.74
17.46
14.78
73.38
74.48
36.69
33.29
7.38
7.26
Mean
~~
1.06
1.29
1.89
2.00
6.04
5.85
6.91
6.14
5.53
5.55
4.66
7.07
6.06
5.76
5.73
4.56
23.82
23.92
26.62
28.26
1.76
1.92
* SD
w (N = 102)
5.52
5.58
8.59
7.53
38.38
40.04
18.49
11.92
12.98
16.65
13.78
16.53
11.67
14.45
17.50
14.30
70.39
72.26
33.85
28.33
7.25
7.00
0.80
0.81
2.05
2.12
5.39
5.06
5.51
6.26
5.80
5.57
4.98
...
5.45
6.49
6.01
5.71
4.76
22.49
21.83
27.01
26.99
1.83
1.75
J ( N = 132)
Mean i SD
5.99**
7.87**
4.67**
2.86**
5.36**
7.91""
0.06
3.49*
0.93
0.48
0.22
0.10
6.15**
0.45
1.04
0.57
0.55
1.07
3.20*
1.68
2.20"
1.55
F-ratio
TABLE 6. Mean and SD o f the 22 dermatoglyphic variables, F-ratios for intergroup heterogeneity, and heritability estimates
0.3B3
0.50'
0.70'
0.65'
0.55'
0.353
0.682
0.70'
0.602
0.582
0.49'
0.46'
0.50'
0.581
0.54'
0.48'
0.65'
0.60'
0.53'
0.521
0.53'
0.56'
h'
5m
3!
55
g
3
"k
P
3
8
0
ct6
-4
d
Eu
5
m
413
BIOLOGICAL AFFINITIES BETWEEN FISHERMEN, PURI
1.40
5200.
UEOO.
.?O
vv
cv
0
t.,
I
Q
+
.%
0.0
m
>
-m
.uC
VP
-.?O
uuoo.
4000.
3600.
0
C
m
u
3200.
-1.40
-1.40
-.70
0.0
.70
canonical variate 1
1.40
2 800.
Fig. 4. The centroids of the three fishing groups, based
2400.
I
I
on dermatoglyphic traits.
2000.
P<.Ol) between the groups. The group
means on the two canonical variates are
shown in Figure 4. This and the D2 matrix
(Table 7) summarizing overall differences
show that the groups are more or less equidistant from each other. There is no clear
grouping between the groups reflecting
either ethnic or geographical similarity, although the D2 values are all significant.
The two canonical variates explain 59%
and 41%of the total dispersion. Palmar variables, a-b ridge count, and main line index
show maximum influence on the first canonical variate, while the number of triradii of
the palm is most important on the second
variate. These results show the greater importance of palmar variables, compared to
fingers, in the observed intergroup variation.
The results of stepwise discriminant analysis
(Table 4)support this conclusion. Here also,
the a-b ridge count of the left hand is the
most important variable in discriminating
the groups.
We also compared the F-ratios from the
analysis of variance for the set of dermatoglyphic traits with the heritability estimates
of the related populations. The correlation
coefficient (rs) was found to be -.05 and statistically insignificant. There is no definitive
pattern to suggest an effect of relative heritability of the traits on population discrimination. As in anthropometric traits, we did
not attempt to divide the dermatoglyphic
data into age categories for the following reasons:
1600.
1 200.
800.
1100.
+--IVP
1
VV
J
r
I
VG
JV
VE
Fig. 5. Dendrogram based on the Hiernaux’s distance, computed by using five of the nine anthropometric
variables between six samples of the Vudubuliju and
Juluri groups living in Puri and Coastal Andhra Pradesh. VG, Vadabalija of Gangavaram; JV,Jalari of Visakapatnam; VB, Vadabalija of Bhimudipatnam.
(1)The role of gene flow between the groups
is considered negligible, as the rate of intermarriage is observed t o be only 1%between
the VP and W and nonexistent between
these groups and the J.
(2) Environmental convergence is not
likely, for the effect of postnatal environment
is known to be absent on dermatoglyphic
traits.
DISCUSSION
Multivariate analysis of the data suggests
considerable discrimination among the three
fishermen groups of Puri (Table 2). The discrimination for the anthropometric variables
is greater than that for dermatoglyphic ones.
4 14
B.M. REDDY, V.P. CHOPRA, AND D.P. MUKHERJEE
TABLE Z Mahalanobids D2, based on 22 quantitative
dermatoglyphic variables between the fishing groups
VP
vv
VP
vv
J
-
0.8703”
0.8227”
J
-
0.7194*
-
*P < ,051
Another important observation emerging
from these results is that the anthropometric
variability among the groups is in agreement with the geographic criterion; the
smallest D2 value is between the two sympatric groups, W and J, and the highest
value is between VP and J, who belong to
different castes and also live in different regions. For the dermatoglyphic traits, the distances are much smaller than those for
anthropometric D2 values. Also, the relative
differences in the distances between different
pairs of populations are too small to reflect
clearly either ethnic or geographical patterns.
Several investigators (Chai, 1972; Neel et
al., 1974; Friedlaender, 1975; Rudan, 1978;
Jantz and Chopra, 1983) have earlier observed different patterns of variation for anthropometric and dermatoglyphic traits. This
is generally thought to be explained by the
relatively smaller influence of the environment on dermatoglyphic traits. Dermatoglyphic characters are generally believed to
be selectively neutral. With the exception of
Babler’s (1978)findings on prenatal selection
of dermatoglyphic patterns the few attempts
that have been made to provide evidence contrary to this belief have failed (Van Valen,
1963; Loesch and Wolanski, 1985). If we accept that dermatoglyphic traits are relatively stabIe environmentally, we may assume that at the level of subcastes, with a
relatively recent history of separation, the
groups differ little genetically. Therefore the
distances are small and not much can be said
about recent ethnic differentiation.
The influence of geographical rather than
ethnic proximity on anthropometric variation has been reported in a number of studies
(Majumder and Rao, 1960; Hiernaux, 1966;
Neel et al., 1974; Rudan, 1978). In this connection, it is of interest to know the nature
of variables that contribute most to the intergroup differentiation. Stepwise discriminant
analysis (Table 3) reveals that besides stat-
ure, breadth measurements are the main
contributors t o discrimination. These breadth
measurements have relatively lower heritability values than stature and other vertical
measurements (Table 1).Though stature has
high heritability, it is very sensitive to environmental conditions such as nutrition and
socioeconomic factors. On these grounds, we
may conclude that the environmental component is of importance in determining the
pattern of variation in the present groups.
No such pattern was evident in case of dermatoglyphic traits. It is also possible that the
large differences in breadth measurements
between the VP and the other two populations were, at least in part, a result of occupational selection, since the VP work with
boats three to four times bigger than those of
the other groups. The VP go much farther
out to sea and remain longer than the W
and J are equipped to do. This pattern can be
traced back to ancestral differences.
It would be of interest to know the biological relationship of the VP, VV, and J with
their parental groups. Unfortunately, sufficient data from representative segments of
the parental groups are not presently available. However, mean values for five (St, HL,
HB, NH, and NB) of the nine measurements
used in the present study were available for
two samples of VadabalGa and a Jalari sample of coastal Andhra Pradesh from where
the groups of present study migrated. We
have, therefore, resorted to Hiernaux’s
method (Hiernaux, 1965) t o compute distances between the six samples. The dendrogram (Fig. 5) conforms to a grouping of
populations essentially on the basis of geographical homogeneity. The VP, W, and J,
the three Puri groups, cluster closely compared to the Vadabalija of Gangavaram, (VG),
Vadabalija of Bhimudipatnam (VB), and Jalari of Visakapatnam (JV),
who are living in
coastal Andhra Pradesh. By caste, however,
the JV and J belong to the Jalari, while the
other four belong to the Vadabalija
BIOLOGICAL AFFINITIES BETWEEN FISHERMEN, PURI
CONCLUSIONS
In conclusion, it may be said that the results of our study suggest significant differentiation between subgroups of the fishermen
community of Puri. Anthropometric measurements demonstrate higher intergroup
variation than the dermatoglyphic ones. The
anthropometric pattern of variation documents the importance of geographic proximity of microdifferentiation under the Indian
social setup.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
B.M.R. is grateful to the authorities of the
Anthropological Survey of India and Indian
Statistical Institute, Calcutta, for providing
necessary facilities in the initial stages of
this work, and to Prof. K.C. Malhotra for
inspiration. We thank Mr. Hermann Mueller
for computational assistance.
Thanks are due to the Alexander-vonHumboldt Foundation for awarding a research fellowship to B.M.R., during which
this paper is written.
LITERATURE CITED
Babler, W J (1978) Prenatal selection and dermatoglyphic patterns. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 48:21-28.
Bernhard, VW, Brauer, G, Chopra, VP, and Hancke, A
(1980) Quantitative genetical analysis of morphological characters of human head and face. J. Hum. Evol.
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