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Demography and H-Lea salivary secretion of the Mac Indians of Paraguay.

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Demography and H-Lea Salivary Secretion of
the Maca Indians of Paraguay
F. M. SALZANO, R. MORENO, M. PALATNIK' AND H. GERSHOWITZ
Departamento de Gendtica, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande d o Sul,
P8rto Alegre, Brazil; Instituto de Ciencias and Facultad de Ciencias
Mddicas, Universidad Nacional, Asumi6n, Paraguay; Departamento
de Ciencias BiolBgicas, Universidad Nacional, L a Plata, Argentina;
and Department of Human Genetics, University of Michigan,
A n n Arbor, Michigan
ABSTRACT
The Maci Indians living at Fray Bartolome de las Casas show a high
rate of endogamy, high mortality (36% of them die before the age of reproduction),
low fertility (average of 3.6 livebirths per female who completed her reproductive
performance) and Iow variance in family size. The index of opportunity for selection
(0.88)is lower than the one obtained in other populations of agriculturalists and in
industrialized communities. The frequency of H secretors (N = 143) is 97% and
that of Lea secretors ( N = 123) is 78%.
The Mac2 are the modern descendants
of groups identified by the names of Enimag& Guentuse and Lengua. Their
language closely resembles that of those
extinct groups and can be classified in
the Mataco-Mac5 family of the MacroGuaicurd phylum (Mason, '50). At the
time of the first contacts they were found
in the Central Chaco, between the Bermejo
and Pilcomayo rivers. Afterwards they migrated northeast to a place near the Verde
river. Present groups live at two localities,
Cuatro Vientos (59"55'W, 23'40's) and
Fray Bartolome de las Casas (57"47'W,
25"20'S). In earlier times these Indians
relied mainly on hunting and gathering
for their subsistence. Many years of contact have somewhat changed their traditional ways of living but they are still reported as practicing only rudimentary
agriculture (Susnik, ' 6 0 ) , leading an almost completely independent life and retaining their own language in a region
where Guarani and Spanish are spoken
by almost everyone.
The only biological study of this tribe
we have been able to locate is that of
Urizar ('42) who studied 111 individuals
for their ABO blood groups. Therefore,
plans were made to obtain demographic
and genetic information among them. Unfortunately, due to superstitious feelings
they refused to donate blood to us. Thus,
we had to restrict ourselves to the analysis
AM. J. PHYS. ANTHROP.,33: 383-388.
of their reproductive histories and salivary
secretion.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The population studied lives at Fray Bartolomk de las Casas, located near the city
of Asuncih, Paraguay's Capital, from
which they are separated by the Paraguay
river. The Indians established themselves
there in 1944, after a massive migration
from Cuatro Vientos and Nanawa. The former locality is some 300 Km northwest,
while Nanawa is only 35 Km away from
Cuatro Vientos. They had to cross difficult,
swampy land, led by the famous General J.
Belaief. The reason for this migration was
food shortage. Fray Bartolomk de las Casas
is now an independent community under
the supervision of the Associacih Indigenista del Paraguay. Missionaries of the
New Tribes Mission have been working
with them for some time, but as previously stated their degree of acculturation is
still not high.
Demographic information, saliva and a
standardized photograph of each individual sampled were obtained by R. Moreno
in January, 1965. The salivas were boiled
just after collection and sent by air in an
ice box to PBrto Alegre. They were tested
there for H secretion (with a Ulex europeus
extract) a few days after receipt, the ma2 Research career member of Argentina's Consejo
Nacional de Investigaciones Cientificas y T6cnicas.
383
384
SALZANO, MORENO, PALATNIK AND GERSHOWITZ
terial being kept stored at -20°C. Afterwards the salivas were sent by air to Ann
Arbor, where repeat determinations for H
secretion were performed, as well as tests
for Lea secretion. But due to shortage of
material and problems of transportation
some salivas were tested in PBrto Alegre
only. The techniques employed have been
presented previously (Salzano, '64; Gershowitz et al., '67; Palatnik et al., '69). The
protocols with the demographic data were
also sent to Pdrto Alegre, where they were
analysed by F. M. Salzano and M. Palatnik. The latter re-visited the group in December, 1968, and obtained some supplementary information about the Mach in
Asunci6n in March, 1969.
RESULTS
Tables 1-5 present the data. A total of
466 individuals were included in the census, practically all of those living in Fray
Bartolome de las Casas at the time. According to the Ministerio de Defensa Nacional del Paraguay the total number of
Mac&Indians presently living in the country is 600. Therefore, our study covers
78% of the tribe. Since according to the
same source the number of Paraguayan
Indians is 37,570, the Mac& represent
1.6% of all Indians of that country.
The estimated mean age of the Mac5
(table 1) is somewhat high as compared
to those of other South American Indians
living at comparable cultural levels (for
a review see De Oliveira and Salzano, '69).
There is an excess of males, as is true for
four other tribes listed in the above cited
paper. In relation to the Mach, we tried to
find out if this high sex-ratio could be explained by an excess of female postnatal
mortality. There is a slight excess of females in the reported deaths (74/143;
51% ) but it is too small to account for the
unusual distribution.
If we consider that Fray Bartolorn6 de
las Casas was founded only 26 years ago
by people who originated from Cuatro
Vientos and Nanawa, in a strict sense the
only exogamous marriages performed
would be those involving other tribes. Only
four such marriages were observed ( 3 between Mac5 and Chulupi Indians; 1 between Mach and Lengua - table 2). TWO
Chulupi couples were also living in Fray
Bartolomi de las Casas at the time of the
investigation.
Table 3 gives information about the fertility of the Mach woman. The number of
livebirths per married female (3.4 F 0.2)
is of the same order of magnitude as that
observed among the Juruna (3.2 2 0.8),
Xavante (3.1 2 0.2) and Bororo (3.0
0.5) Indians, but lower than the one found
among the Caingang (4.5 C 0.1) (De Oliveira and Salzano, '69). The number of
liveborn offspring in completed sibships observed here (3.6) is distinctly smaller than
those obtained among the Caingang (6.1)
and Xavante (4.7) (Salzano et al., '67);
but it is higher than that reported for the
Yanomama (2.6 - Nee1 and Chagnon,
'68). A curious feature is the low variance
observed among the Mach.
Table 4 shows that the average number
of surviving offspring per female who had
at least one liveborn child is 2.2 0.1. The
comparable figure in completed families is
2.4, with a variance of 1.2. Of the 376 individuals reported as born alive, 135 (36%)
died before the age of reproduction. This
figure is of the same order of magnitude as
those observed among the Xavante (33% )
and Caingang (38%). Other Indian groups,
however, like the Yanomama and Juruna,
show much lower mortality.
The breeding size of the Mac6 population (table 5 ) is 182, that is, 39% of the
total population. Similar proportions between these two parameters were obtained
*
*
TABLE I
Distribution of the Mack population
Sex
Males
Females
Total
Percent
Sex ratio
of
Fray Bartolomd de las Casas by age and sex
Age intervals
0-14
15-30
31andmore
71
61
132
28
116.4
43
50
93
20
86.0
81
68
149
32
119.1
Unknown
54
38
92
20
142.1
Total
249
217
466
114.7
Estimated average age
Mean
S.D.
27.5
26.3
20.8
19.5
385
DEMOGRAPHY AND SECRETION OF PARAGUAY INDIANS
TABLE 2
Intratribal endogamy and intertribal marriages among the Macd of Fray Bartoloml de las Casas
Marriages
Endogamous
NaxNas
FBCxFBCs
Total
53
62
1
1
10
12
64
75
Intratribal ( N )
(Mack)
Exogamous
4Vx4V1
(%)
20
24
1
1
21
25
85
Mack x Mack
Chulupi x Chulupi
Mack X Chulupi
M a d X Lengua
85
93
2
2
3
3
1
1
Intertribal ( N )
(% 1
14V. Cuatro Vientos.
Grand total
4VxFBC 4 V x N a Total
2
Na, Nanawa.
3 FBC,
Total
91
Fray Bartolome de las Casas.
TABLE 3
FertiPity of the Mach woman
Number of livebirths per married woman over the age of 15, by age groups
15-19
20-29
30-39
4049
50-59
4
5
0.8
63
23
2.7
121
30
4.0
68
18
3.8
56
Number of livebirths
Number of females
Average
Dead
60
probably
~:IJ;
47
14
3.4
16
3.5
< 40
probably
5 40
8
2
4.0
11
3
3.7
359
106
3.4*0.2
Number of liveborn offspring
in completed sibships
Number of children
Females with
completed sibships
Alive ( A 40 years)
40 years)
Dead
Dead (h40 years)
Total
(<
Number Average no.
of
of
Variance
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
'7
women
children
(SV
2
-
-2
-7
-18
1
19
3.6
4.0
3.7
3.6
-
7
5
5
48
2
2
6
6
3
2
5
2
2
9
-
-
_
-
3
3
53
2.9
2.7
TABLE 4
Surviving offspringby age groups and i n completed families
Average number of surviving offspring per female w h o had at least
one liveborn child, by age groups
Dead
60
15-19 20-29
Surviving offspring
Number of females
Average
Decrease as
% of livebirths
;t:e
5059
30-39 4049
ags
Probably Probably
40
k40
0
2
0
3
2.3
100
38
/
3
4
0.7
42
22
1.9
66
30
2.2
45
18
2.5
36
15
2.4
36
13
2.8
228
102
2.220.1
13
30
45
34
31
18
35
7
Surviving offspring in completed families
Females with
completed sibships
AIive ( A 40 years)
Dead
40 years)
Dead ( A 40 years)
Total
(<
Number of children
0
2
_
2
1
9
-
-
9
2
10
2
1 2
23
-
_
1
2
5
4
3
1
_
-
4
3
-
1
3
Number Average no. Variance
of
of
women children
(")
46
2
3
51
2.5
0
2.3
2.4
1.1
-
1.2
386
SALZANO, MORENO, PALATNIK AND GERSHOWITZ
TABLE 5
Some genetic parameters derived f r o m the demographic data and
frequency o f t w o genetic markers
1st
Breeding
size 1
31
pd
0.36
Selection intensity a
Genetic markers
ABH
Generations
2nd
3rd
78
Total
73
182
I,
4
If/PS
I
0.56
0.21
0.32
0.88
Saliva secretion
No.
studied
N
143
139
Sec.
%
97
Gene Se
0.83 Lea
' Number of persons who left offspring. The length of
this population.
No.
See.
studied
N
%
GeneLe
123
96
78
0.53
a generation was estimated as 20 years in
2 p d , premature deaths; I,, p d / p s , where p s = proportion surviving or 1-pd; I f , Vf/?a, where Vr =
variance in offspring number in completed sibships and x'= mean number of livebirths per woman
who completed her reproduction; I , Index of opportunity for selection, or p o t e n t i d selection; its genetic
significance and usefulness are proportional to the genetic component in the phenomena on which
it i s based: I =I,
F/ps. See Crow, '58.
+
in other Indian groups. The index of op- The data reported here is, as far as we
portunity for selection (Crow, '58) ob- know, the first which present demographic
tained for the Mach (0.88) is identical to information of genetic interest and the inthe one calculated for the Yanomama and cidence of salivary secretion polymorvery similar to that observed among the phisms on these groups.
Urizar ('42) observed one A and two B
Xavante (Neel and Chagnon, '68). Other
groups of agriculturalists and even indus- individuals among 111 Mach Indians studtrialized communities show, however, high- ied in Asunci6n for the ABO blood groups.
er values (Spuhler, '62; Neel and Chag- This indicates the occurrence of some adnon, '68 ) .
mixture with non-Indian groups. But if
Relatively few studies have been per- this hybridization occurred it may have
formed to date on the salivary secretion been restricted to previous generations,
of American Indians. Only four tribes were since we did not detect any crossing even
studied in South America (review in Sal- with Mestizos in our demographic study.
zano, '64; see also Gershowitz et al., '67; The morphological appearance of our subArends et al., '67).Gene Se varied in these jects was also typically Indian. In this repopulations from 0.34 (Xavante) to 1.00 gard the Mach population seems to present
(Guarani) and gene Le from 0.25 (Cain- the characteristics of a genetic isolate. Ungang) to 0.63 (Xavante). The Mach values fortunately the demographic data collected
(Se: 0.83; Le: 0.53 - table 5) are in the were not sufficiently detailed to allow for
middle of the distribution range. The gen- the calculation of the group's average ineral impression given by these values is breeding coefficient. But we may infer that
that Se is more prevalent among North due to this isolation the coefficient would
American Indians, where several samples be high. The population is characterized
show values around 1.0. The distribution by large mortality, low fertility and low
of Le in North American groups is still too variance in the number of both liveborn
poorly known for comparison with the re- and surviving offspring in completed families. The average number of livebirths in
sults in the South.
completed sibships (3.6) is just a little
DISCUSSION
above the number necessary to attain the
Few biological studies have been per- replacement level in a population with
formed to date in Paraguayan Indians and such a high mortality before the age of rethey were restricted for the most part to production (36 % ). The low variance conblood group investigations (Urizar, '42; ditions an estimate of "effective" populaGajdusek, '64 and unpublished; Saguier tion number (Wright, '40) which is higher
Negrete, '64; Miraglia and Saguier Negrete, than the breeding population, a situation
'66; Matson et al., '68; Moreno et al., '68). that is probably very rare in human
DEMOGRAPHY AND SECRETION OF PARAGUAY INDIANS
groups. At present it is not clear whether
this low variance is real, due to underreporting or to any other unknown deficiency of our method of data collection.
The salivary secretion studies furnish information on two genetic markers only,
evidently too few for any attempt at correlation with the population structure results. The only indication they give is that
of a “typical South American Indian” prevalence, in keeping with the low estimates
of Mac& interbreeding with non-Indian
persons mentioned above.
Papers dealing with both genetic and
demographic aspects of human populations are appearing with increasing frequency (see, for instance, besides the papers already cited here, Johnston et al.,
’69; Basu, ’69). The importance of such
investigations for the understanding of our
evolution cannot be overemphasized since
the genetic diversity of a group is conditioned to a large extent by its population
structure. The main task ahead is the proper Iinking of the genetic and demographic
results. A decisive step in this direction has
recently been made by Ward and Neel
(’70) with their new index of genetic migr a tion.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The financial support of the following
institutions is gratefully acknowledged:
Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Cientificas y Tknicas, Argentina; Conselho
Nacional de Pesquisas, Brazil; Conselho de
Pesquisas da Universidade Federal do Rio
Grande do Sul; Coordenaq5o do Aperfeifoamento do Pessoal de Nivel Superior,
Brazil; Fundafiio de Amparo B Pesquisa
do Estado do Rio Grande do Sul; U.S.
Atomic Energy Commission grant AT(111)-1552; and the Wenner-Gren Foundation
for Anthropological Research.
LITERATURE CITED
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Shreffler, R. Tashian and L. Weitkamp 1967
Intratribal genetic differentiation among the
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387
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Gershowitz, H., P. C. Junqueira, F. M. Salzano
and J. V. Neel 1967 Further studies on the
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Marcos Xavantes. Am. J. Hum. Genet., 19: 502513.
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Queirolo, J. F. Mohn and R. M. Bannerman
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