The World Until Yesterday
What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?
|listen to a Penguin Audio excerpt|
Most of us take for granted the features of our modern society, from air travel and telecommunications to literacy and obesity. Yet for nearly all of its six million years of existence, human society had none of these things. While the gulf that divides us from our primitive ancestors may seem unbridgeably wide, we can glimpse much of our former lifestyle in those largely traditional societies still or recently in existence. Societies like those of the New Guinea Highlanders remind us that it was only yesterday—in evolutionary time—when everything changed and that we moderns still possess bodies and social practices often better adapted to traditional than to modern conditions.
The World Until Yesterday provides a mesmerizing firsthand picture of the human past as it had been for millions of years—a past that has mostly vanished—and considers what the differences between that past and our present mean for our lives today.
This is Jared Diamond’s most personal book to date, as he draws extensively from his decades of field work in the Pacific islands, as well as evidence from Inuit, Amazonian Indians, Kalahari San people, and others. Diamond doesn’t romanticize traditional societies—after all, we are shocked by some of their practices—but he finds that their solutions to universal human problems such as child rearing, elder care, dispute resolution, risk, and physical fitness have much to teach us. A characteristically provocative, enlightening, and entertaining book, The World Until Yesterday will be essential and delightful reading.
List of Tables of Figures
PROLOGUES: At the Airport
An airport scene / Why study traditional societies? / States / Types of traditional societies / Approaches, causes, and sources / A small book about a big subject / Plan of the book
PART ONE: SETTING THE STAGE BY DIVIDING SPACE
CHAPTER 1. Friends, Enemies, Strangers, and Traders
PART TWO: PEACE AND WAR
CHAPTER 2. Compensation for the Death of a Child
CHAPTER 3. A Short Chapter, About a Tiny War
CHAPTER 4. A Longer Chapter, About Many Wars
PART THREE: YOUNG AND OLD
CHAPTER 5. Bringing Up Children
CHAPTER 6. The Treatment of Old People: Cherish, Abandon, or Kill?
PART FOUR: DANGER AND RESPONSE
CHAPTER 7. Constructive Paranoia
CHAPTER 8. Lions and Other Dangers
PART FIVE: RELIGION, LANGUAGE, AND HEALTH
CHAPTER 9. What Electric Eels Tell Us About the Evolution of Religion
CHAPTER 10. Speaking in Many Tongues
CHAPTER 11. Salt, Sugar, Fat, and Sloth
EPILOGUE: At Another Airport
Praise for Collapse
A New York Times bestseller
"A magisterial effort packed with insight and written with clarity and enthusiasm. It's also the deal of the year--the equivalent of a year's college course by an engaging, brilliant professor, all for the price of a book. — BusinessWeek
"Extraordinary in erudition and originality, compelling in [its] ability to relate the digitized pandemonium of the present to the hushed agrarian sunrises of the past." — The New York Times Book Review
"Diamond's most influential gift may be his ability to write about geopolitical and environmental systems in ways that don't just educate and provoke, but entertain." — The Seattle Times
"Extremely persuasive...replete with fascinating stories, a treasure trove of historical anecdotes [and] haunting statistics." — The Boston Globe
"Essential reading...Collapse [shows] that resilient societies are nimble ones, capable of a long-term planning and of abandoning deeply entrenched but ultimately destructive core values and beliefs." — Nature
"There are hopeful messages in Collapse. With Diamond's help, maybe we'll learn to see our problems a little more clearly before we chop down that last palm tree." — Time
"Extraordinarily panoramic...Diamond's complex historical web of how human communities either master their environment or become victims of them...takes a lifetime of research and, in normal English, leads the reader painstakingly where the media and intellectual journals have often refused to go." — The Washington Post
"Rendering complex history and science into entertaining prose, Diamond reminds us that those who ignore history are bound to repeat it." — People (four stars)
"Taken together, Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse represent one of the most significant projects embarked upon by any intellectual in our generation. They are magnificent books...I read both thinking what literature might be like if every author knew so much, wrote so clearly and formed arguments with such care." — The New York Times
"Read this book. It will challenge you and make you think." — Scientific American
The Further Readings for my book’s Prologue, consisting of references applicable to the whole book and of some general interest, are printed at the back of my book. The complete Further Readings, from those for Chapter 1 through those for the Epilogue, are not printed in the book in order to reduce the book’s length and cost; but are instead given here on this website. Users of this website Further Readings material should begin by reading the printed explanation of Further Readings for the Prologue; that explanation also applies to the Further Readings posted here.
Chapter 1. Friends, enemies, strangers, and traders
Three books provide accounts and photographs of first contacts by Australians in the central and western parts of the Highlands of what is now Papua New Guinea. Michael Leahy Explorations into Highland New Guinea 1930 – 1935 (Bathurst, Australia: Crawford House Press, 1994) is a first-person account by the miner who led the first explorations into those highlands. Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson First Contact: New Guinea’s Highlanders Encounter the Outside World (New York: Viking Penguin, 1987) describe the encounters both through the eyes of Leahy and his companions and of the Highlanders who met them as children and were interviewed 50 years later. Bill Gammage The Sky Travelers: Journeys in New Guinea 1938 - 1939 (Carlton, Australia: Melbourne University Press, 1998) describes the largest exploration patrol to operate in Australian New Guinea, the Taylor-Black Patrol. The quotation on my page 58, from a New Guinean describing 50 years later his memory of the moment of first contact, appears on page 6 of the Connolly and Anderson book. Robin Radford Highlanders and Foreigners in the Upper Ramu: the Kainantu Area 1919 – 1942 (Carlton, Australia: Melbourne University Press, 1987) summarizes the arrival of Europeans in the eastern part of the Papua New Guinea Highlands. Scott Wallace The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon’s Last Uncontacted Tribes (New York: Crown, 2011) gives accounts of first contacts in the Amazon Basin.
The Vitiaz Strait trading system that included Malai and the other Siassi Islands was described by Thomas Harding Voyagers of the Vitiaz Strait: a Study of a New Guinea Trade System (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1967). Another group of Siassi Island traders, those of Mandok Island, is the subject of Alice Pomponio Seagulls Don’t Fly into the Bush (Belmont: Wadsworth, 1992).
Theodora Kroeber Ishi in Two Worlds: a Biography of the Last Wild Indian in North America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1961) is an emotionally powerful classic that will move every reader.
Within the large literature on kinship systems and alliance through marriage, four standard accounts are Claude Lévi-Strauss The Elementary Structures of Kinship (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1969), Robin Fox Kinship and Marriage: An Anthropological Perspective (Baltimore: Penguin, 1967) and The Red Lamp of Incest (New York: Dutton, 1980), and Bernard Chapais Primeval Kinship: How Pair-bonding Gave Birth to Human Society (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008).
Pamela Swadling Plumes from Paradise: Trade Cycles in Outer Southeast Asia and Their Impact on New Guinea and Nearby Islands until 1920 (Boroko: Papua New Guinea National Museum, 1996) chronicles the trade in bird-of-paradise plumes, aromatic wood, trepang, and other New Guinea products that were carried by sea-going traders through Indonesia to Asia.
The references to accounts of 39 societies provided at the beginning of my printed Further Readings section are the sources of most of the observations about individual societies in this chapter, as in the succeeding chapters.
Chapter 2. Compensation for the death of a child
The legal literature on our state justice systems is enormous, and I shall cite only a few articles relevant to particular issues discussed in my chapter. Interested readers should also talk with lawyer friends, who can relate their experiences of how our justice systems functions in practice.
Some classical anthropological discussions of traditional justice systems include Leopold Pospisil The Kapauku Papuans and Their Law (New Haven: Human Relations Area Files, 1964), E.A. Hoebel The Law of Primitive Man: a Study in Comparative Legal Dynamics (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1967), Bronislaw Malinowski Crime and Custom in Savage Society (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1926), and Sally Falk Moore Law as Process: An Anthropological Approach (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1978), and Social Facts and Fabrications: “Customary” Law on Kilimanjaro, 1880 – 1980 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986).
References for traditional dispute resolution among the Kaulong, Fore, Siriono, Mbuti, Piraha, and Nuer are the books by Goodale, Berndt, Holmberg, Turnbull, Everett, and Evans-Pritchard cited at the beginning of the Further Readings section printed in my book. Sorcery-related Ebola fever in Gabon is described by Barry Hewlett and Bonnie Hewlett Ebola, Culture, and Politics (Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2008).
Two articles about the origin of disputes in American society are Richard Miller and Austin Sarat, “Grievances, claims, and disputes: assessing the adversary culture” (Law and Society Review 15: 525-566 (1980-1981)), and William Felstiner, Richard Abel, and Austin Sarat, “The emergence and transformation of disputes: naming, blaming, claiming…” (Law and Society Review 15: 631-654 (1980-1981)).
The following are examples of how some professions or groups within the United States or Western societies settle member disputes by themselves without court involvement, using tribal-like mechanisms. For Shasta County cattle ranchers in California: Robert Ellickson Order without Law: How Neighbors Settled Disputes (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991). For Maine lobster fishermen: James Acheson The Lobster Gangs of Maine (Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1988). For diamond merchants: Lisa Bernstein, “Opting out of the legal system: extralegal contractual relations in the diamond industry” (Journal of Legal Studies 21: 115-157 (1992)).
Apologies, admissions of blame, and expressions of regret by the perpetrator to the victim are associated with risks as well as with potential benefits within the American legal system, depending partly on whether the apology is full or only partial. Two relevant studies are Erin O’Hara and Douglas Yarn, “On apology and consilience” (Washington Law Review 77: 1121-1192 (2002)) and Jennifer Robbennolt, “Apologies and legal settlement” (Michigan Law Review 102: 460-516 (2003)).
The debate over whether the losing party should pay part of the winner’s attorney fees is discussed by Thomas Rowe, Jr., “The legal theory of attorney fee shifting: a critical overview” (Duke Law Journal 651-680 (1982)).
For a discussion of impartial adjudication in light of the matter of Bernard Goetz, the man who was asked to undergo mediation with his mugger and, disillusioned with our legal system, several years later shot four men who were apparently about to mug him again, see Albert Alschuler, “Mediation with a mugger: the shortage of adjudicative services and the need for a two-tier trial system in civil cases” (Harvard Law Review 99: 1808-1859 (1986)).
The editorial that I quote concerning the Los Angeles district attorney’s desire to prosecute Roman Polanski despite the desire of his victim for him not to be prosecuted was published in the Los Angeles Times for October 31, 2009.
The Los Angeles Times for February 17, 2007 published an account of how restorative justice operated at the meeting of Patty O’Reilly with the man who killed her husband. Reviews of how restorative justice operates in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States include Mark Umbreit Victim Meets Offender: the Impact of Restorative Justice and Mediation (Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice Press, 1994); Jim Consedine Restorative Justice: Healing the Effects of Crime (Littleton, New Zealand: Ploughshares Publications, 1995); Nova Scotia Department of Justice Restorative Justice: a Program for Nova Scotia (Halifax: Department of Justice, 1998); Gordon Bazemore and Mara Schiff, eds. Restorative Community Justice (Cincinnati, OH: Anderson Publishing, 2001); Allison Morris and Gabrielle Maxwell, eds. Restorative Justice for Juveniles: Conferencing, Mediation and Circles (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2001); and Kathleen Daly, “Restorative justice: the real story” (Punishment and Society 4: 55-79 (2002)).
A much-cited article about how the legal system affects negotiations and bargaining that go on outside the courtroom is Robert Mnookin and Lewis Kornhauser, “Bargaining in the shadow of the law: the case of divorce” (Yale Law Journal 88: 950-997 (1979)).
As examples of the hybrid systems now arising in many developing nations, combining traditional justice at the community level with state justice, such hybrid systems that evolved in Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, and the Solomon Islands are reviewed by Daniel Evans, Michael Goddard, and Don Paterson The Hybrid Courts of Melanesia (Washington, DC: Justice and Development Working Paper Series [of the World Bank], 2010 [www.worldbank.org/lji]).
The quote from Chief Justice Robert Yazzie about Navajo peacemaking comes from p. 320 of Peter Iverson Diné: a History of the Navajos (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2002).
Chapter 3. A short chapter, about a tiny war
The three main sources for the Dani fighting described in this chapter are as follows. Broekhuijse’s doctoral dissertation is Johan Broekhuijse De Wiligiman-Dani: Een Cultureel-anthropologische Studie over Religie en Oorlogvoering in de Baliem-vallei (Tilburg: Gianotten, 1967). Heider’s book is Karl Heider The Dugum Dani: a Papuan Culture in the Highlands of West New Guinea (New York: Wenner Gren Foundation, 1970). Matthiessen’s book is Peter Matthiessen Under the Mountain Wall: a Chronicle of Two Seasons in the Stone Age (New York: Viking, 1962).
Robert Gardner’s film is Robert Gardner Dead Birds (Cambridge MA: Peabody Museum of Harvard University, 1963). Gardner and Heider together wrote Gardens of War: Life and Death in the New Guinea Stone Age (New York: Random House, 1969). More recent studies are Karl Heider Grand Valley Dani: Peaceful Warriors, 3rd ed. (Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace, 1997), Robert Gardner The Impulse to Preserve: Reflections of a Filmmaker (New York: Other Press, 2006), and Paul Roscoe, “Dead Birds: the theater of war among the Dugum Dani” (American Anthropologist 113, no. 1: 56-70 (2011)). The death toll quoted for Okinawa comes from George Feifer Tennozan: the Battle of Okinawa and the Atomic Bomb (New York: Ticknor and Fields, 1992).
Chapter 4. A long chapter, about many wars
For excellent accounts of tribal warfare in general, see Lawrence Keeley War before Civilization: the Myth of the Peaceful Savage (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996). Steven LeBlanc Constant Battles: the Myth of the Peaceful, Noble Savage (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2003), and “Why war? Lessons from the Past” (Daedalus winter 2007: 13 - 21 (2007)). Samuel Bowles “Did warfare among ancestral hunter-gatherers affect the evolution of human social behaviors?” (Science 324: 1293 – 1298 (2009)). Azar Gat War in Human Civilization (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006). I quote Keeley on p. 165, and LeBlanc on p. 130. A massive analysis of how violence has changed in recent centuries is Steven Pinker The Better Angels of Our Nature (New York: Viking, 2011).
For tribal warfare compared with chimpanzee warfare, see Richard Wrangham, “Killer species” (Daedalus fall 2004: 25 – 35 (2004)); Richard Wrangham, Michael Wilson, and Martin Muller, “Comparative rates of violence in chimpanzees and humans” (Primates 47: 14 – 26 (2006)); and Richard Wrangham and Luke Glowacki, “Intergroup aggression in chimpanzees and nomadic hunter-gatherers: evaluating the chimpanzee model” (Human Nature, in press). Wrangham’s paper includes an insightful discussion of why some human societies are more peaceful than are others; that is also the theme of Raymond Kelly “Warless Societies and the Origins of War (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000).
For wars of New Zealand’s Maori against each other and against Europeans, see James Belich The New Zealand Wars and the Victorian Interpretation of Racial Conflict (Auckland: Penguin, 1986). James Belich Making Peoples: a History of the New Zealanders from Polynesian Settlement to the End of the Nineteenth Century (Auckland: Penguin, 1996). R.D Crosby: The Musket Wars: a History of Intra-iwi Conflict 1806 – 45 (Auckland: Reed (1999)). For war in Fiji, see R.A. Derrick A History of Fiji, revised ed. (Suva: Government Press, 1950). For war in Roviana Lagoon and elsewhere in the Solomon Islands, see Judith Bennett Wealth of the Solomons: a History of Pacific Archaeology, 1800 – 1978 (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1987). For Auyana warfare, see Sterling Robbins Auyana: Those Who Held onto Home (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1982).
The systematic compilations of cross-cultural comparisons in the Human Relations Area Files have been analyzed to understand warfare by Carol Ember and Melvin Ember, “Warfare, aggression, and resource problems: cross-cultural codes” (Behavior Science Research 26: 169 – 226 (1992)) and “Resource unpredictability, mistrust, and war: a cross-cultural study” (Journal of Conflict Resolution 36: 242 – 262 (1992)); Carol Ember, Melvin Ember, and Bruce Russett, “Peace between participatory polities: a cross-cultural test of the ‘Democracies rarely fight each other’ hypothesis” (World Politics 44: 573 – 599 (1992)); and Carol Ember, Bruce Russett, and Melvin Ember, “Political participation and peace: cross-cultural codes” (Cross-cultural Research 27: 97 – 145 (1993)). The role of sacred values rather than cold rational choices in motivating conflicts is considered by Scott Atran, Robert Axelrod, and Richard Davis, “Sacred barriers to conflict resolution” (Science 317: 1039 – 1040 (2007)).
For revenge, see Stephen Beckerman and Paul Valentine, eds. Revenge in the Cultures of Lowland South America (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2008) and G.W. Trompf Payback: the Logic of Retribution in Melanesian Religions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994).
For Chumash warfare, see Lynn Gamble The Chumash World at European Contact (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008).
For discussions of effects of European contact on tribal warfare, see R. Brian Ferguson and Neil Whitehead War in the Tribal Zone: Expanding States and Indigenous Warfare (Santa Fe: School of American Research Press, 1992) and R. Brian Ferguson Yanomamo Warfare: a Political History (Santa Fe: School of American Press, 1999).
A book in which anthropologists debate whether or not they should suppress publication of evidence for environmental degradation and/or warfare among indigenous communities is Richard Chacon and Rubén Mendoza, eds. The Ethics of Anthropology and Ameridian Research: Reporting on Environmental Degradation and Warfare (New York: Springer, 2012).
For tabulations of modern wars, see Lewis Richardson Statistics of Deadly Quarrels (Pittsburgh: Boxwood Press, 1960) and Micheal Clodfelter Warfare and Armed Conflicts, 3rd ed. (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2008).
For Sherman’s march through the Confederacy in the broader context of the American Civil War, see James McPherson Battle Cry of Freedom: the Civil War Era (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988).
Sources on Dani warfare are cited under the Further Readings for Chapter 3.
For archaeological evidence of the massacre at Talheim, see J. Wahl and H. König “Anthropologisch-traumologische Untersuchung der menschlichen Skelettreste aus dem bandkeramischen Massengrab bei Talheim, Kreis Heilbronn” (Fundberichte aus Baden-Württemberg 12: 65 – 193 (1987)). A Bronze Age massacre is described by Detlef Jantzen et al., “A Bronze Age battlefield? Weapons and trauma in the Tollense Valley, north-eastern Germany” (Antiquity 85: 1 – 18 (2011)). A Spanish Neandertal massacre is described by Antonio Rosas et al., “Paleobiology and comparative morphology of a late Neandertal sample from El Sidron, Asturias, Spain (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 103: 19266-19271 (2006)) and by Carles Lalueza-Fox et al., “Genetic evidence for patrilocal mating behavior among Neandertal groups” (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 108: 250-253 (2011)).
Books cited under the printed Further Readings for the Prologue include those by Berndt, Chagnon (quoted on my p. 158), Burch, Kuegler, Evans-Pritchard (quoted on my p. 158), and Malinowski, about the Fore, Yanomamo, Iñupiaq Inuit, Fayu, Nuer, and Mailu Islanders respectively.
For comparisons of zealous warriors and milder men among the Waorani Indians in reproductive output, see Stephen Beckerman et al. “Life histories, blood revenge, and reproductive success among the Waorani of Ecuador” (Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 106: 8134 – 8139 (2009)). Chagnon’s corresponding comparison for the Yanomamo appeared in N. Chagnon “Life histories, blood revenge, and warfare in a tribal population” (Science 239: 985 – 992 (1988)).
Portions of my discussion of vengeful feelings come from my article “Vengeance Is Ours” (The New Yorker pp. 74 - 87 (April 21, 2008)).
Chapter 5. Bringing up children
This chapter is well served by excellent recent books about childhood that make explicit comparisons among human societies, between humans and other primate species, or both: Barry Hewlett and Michael Lamb, eds. Hunter-gatherer Childhoods: Evolutionary, Developmental, and Cultural Perspectives (New Brunswick, NJ: AldineTransaction, 2005); Robert LeVine and Rebecca New, eds. Anthropology and Child Development: a Cross-cultural Reader (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008); David Lancy The Anthropology of Childhood: Cherubs, Chattel, Changelings (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008); Sarah Blaffer Hrdy Mothers and Others: the Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009); and Melvin Konner The Evolution of Childhood: Relationships, Emotion, Mind (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010). The first two of these books are multi-authored edited volumes that offer the perspectives of many different authors about the societies that they studied individually, while the last-three-cited books are syntheses by single authors.
An earlier comparative study, based on a 1957 version of George Murdock’s cross-cultural sample, is Herbert Barry III, Irvin Child, and Margaret Bacon, “Relation of child training to subsistence economy” (American Anthropologist 61: 51-63 (1959)).
For many peoples whose child-rearing practices I discuss in this chapter, the references will be found at the beginning of the Further Readings section printed in my book. Those peoples are: the Ache, Agta, Aka, Andaman Islanders, Mbuti, Dani, Hadza, Iñupiat, Kaulong, !Kung, Mailu Islanders, Nuer, Siriono, Trobriand Islanders, and Yanomamo. Three other peoples discussed in this chapter are described in chapters of the Hewlett/Lamb and LeVine/New multi-authored edited volumes cited above. Two are from the Hewlett/Lamb volume: the chapters by Douglas Bird and Rebecca Bliege Bird on the Martu of the Western Australian desert, and by Bram Tucker and Alyson Young on the Mikea of Madagascar. The other is the chapter in the LeVine/New volume by Meyer Fortes on the Tallensi of Ghana.
Comparative studies by Barry Hewlett and his colleagues comparing Central African forest foragers and their farmer neighbors include: Barry Hewlett Intimate Fathers cited above; Barry Hewlett, “The parent-infant relationship and social-emotional development among Aka pygmies,” pp. 223-243 in J. Roopnairine and B. Segal, eds. Parent-child Relations in Diverse Cultures (New York: Abley, 1992); Barry Hewlett et al., “Culture and early infancy among Central African foragers and farmers” (Developmental Psychology 34: 653-661 (1998)); and Hillary Fouts, Barry Hewlett, and Michael Lamb, “Weaning and the nature of early childhood interactions among Bofi foragers in Central Africa” (Human Nature 12: 27-46 (2001)).
The controversy about whether it is dangerous or desirable for modern parents to sleep in the same bed as their infants is discussed by James McKenna and Thomas McDade, “Why babies should never sleep alone: a review of the co-sleeping controversy in relation to SIDS, bedsharing and breast feeding” (Paediatric Respiratory Reviews 6: 135-152 (2005)).
Sources of direct quotes in my chapter are as follows. From Daniel Everett, about the Piraha, on my pp. 176 – 177, 188, 197, and 198: pp. 90-91, 98, 89-97, and 89 in his book Don’t Sleep, There are Snakes cited in my printed Further Readings. From Kim Hill and A. Magdalena Hurtado about the Ache, on my pp. 178 and 199: pp. 375 and 219-220 in their book Ache Life History cited in my printed Further Readings. From Nancy Howell, about the !Kung, on my pp. 178 - 179: pp. 119-120 in her book Demography of Dobe !Kung cited in my printed Further Readings. From Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, about American child-rearing practices, on my p. 191: p. 65 in her chapter in the Hewlett and Lamb book Hunter-Gatherer Childhoods cited above. From Nurit Bird-David, about the Nayaka, on my p. 205: p. 96 in her chapter in the same book by Hewlett and Lamb. From Bronislaw Malinowski, about Trobriand Islanders, on my pp. 195 - 196: p. 30 in his chapter in the book by Robert LeVine and Rebecca New Anthropology and Child Development cited above. From Meyer Fortes, about the Tallensi, on my p. 196: p. 35, in his chapter in the same book by LeVine and New. From Colin Turnbull, about the BaMbuti pygmies, on my pp. 205 - 206: p. 129 in his book The Forest People cited in my printed Further Readings.
Chapter 6. The treatment of old people: cherish, abandon, or kill?
Five classic books comparing old age across many societies present many of the examples of specific tribal practices that I summarize. The books are: Leo Simmons The Role of the Aged in Primitive Society (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1945). Donald Cowgill and Lowell Holmes, eds. Aging and Modernization (New York: Meredith, 1972). Pamela Amoss and Stevan Harrell, eds. Other Ways of Growing Old: Anthropological Perspectives (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1981). Donald Cowgill Aging around the World (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1986). J. Keith et al. The Aging Experience: Diversity and Commonality across Cultures (City: publisher, 1994).
Conflicts of interest between parents and their offspring are explained by Robert Trivers “Parent-offspring conflict” (American Zoologist 14: 249 – 264 (1974)).
Some papers by Kristen Hawkes and colleagues about the contributions of grandmothers are as follows. Kristen Hawkes, James O’Connell and Nicholas Blurton Jones, “Hardworking Hadza grandmothers,” pp. 341-366 in V. Standen and R. Foley, eds. Comparative Socioecology: the Behavioural Ecology of Humans and Other Mammals (London: Basil Blackwell, 1989). Kristen Hawkes et al., “Grandmothering, menopause, and the evolution of human life histories” (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 95: 1336-1339 (1998)). Kristen Hawkes, “Grandmothers and the evolution of human longevity” (American Journal of Human Biology 15: 380-400 (2003)). Kristen Hawkes, “The grandmother effect” (Nature 428: 128-129 (2004)).
References for the Ache, !Kung, African pygmies, and Siriono are the books cited at the beginning of the Further Readings section printed in my book.
Sources for further information about some of the case studies that I mention or describe are as follows. For the disappearance at sea of the veteran Pacific navigator Tevake: David Lewis We, the Navigators (Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii, 1972). For the surveys of American attitudes about the elderly: Louis Harris and Associates, Inc. The Myth and Reality of Aging in America (Washington, DC: National Council on the Aging, 1975); Louis Harris and Associates Aging in the Eighties: America in Transition (Washington, DC: National Council on the Aging, 1981). For gerontocracy in Ireland: Conrad Arensberg and Solon Kimball Family and Community in Ireland (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1940); Robert Kennedy, Jr. The Irish: Emigration, Marriage, and Fertility (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1973). For the battle of Tarawa: Joseph Alexander Utmost Savagery: the Three Days of Tarawa (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1995). For the effects of Finnish and Canadian grandmothers on survival of their grandchildren: Mirkka Laadenperä et al., “Fitness benefits of prolonged post-reproductive lifespan in women” (Nature 428: 178-181 (2004)). For the experimental study of the effect of a job applicant’s age on the likelihood of being interviewed by a prospective employer: Joanna Lahey Age, Women, and Hiring: an Experimental Study (Chestnut Hill, MA: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, 2006).
My account, on pp. 219 – 220, of traditional knowledge and the hungi kengi on Rennell Island is drawn from my account on pp. 122 – 123 of my book Why Is Sex Fun? The Evolution of Human Sexuality (New York: Basic Books, 1997).
Sources of direct quotes in my chapter are as follows. From Allan Holmberg, about the Siriono, on my p. 215: p. 226 in his book Nomads of the Long Bow cited in my printed Further Readings. From Kim Hill and A. Magdalena Hurtado, about the Ache, on my p. 216: p. 236 in their book Ache Life History cited in my printed Further Readings. From Jane Goodale, about the Kaulong, on my p. 216: p. 176 in her book To Sing with Pigs is Human cited in my printed Further Readings. From Codrington, about the Banks Islanders, on my p. 216: p. 347 in his book [quoted by Simmons on p. 236 of his above-cited book]. From Winston Churchill, about Japan’s Admiral Kurita, on my p. 217: p. 186 in his book Triumph and Tragedy (Cambridge, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1953). From Donald Cowgill, about the emphasis on family, attributes of old age, and Ireland, on my pp. 221 – 222, 223, and 230: pp. 46, 8, and 110 in his book Aging around the World cited above.
Richard Strauss’s reflections on changes with age in his abilities as a composer were recorded by Stefan Zweig Die Welt von Gestern (Frankfurt: S. Fischer Verlag, 1982).
Chapter 7. Constructive paranoia
Richard Lee describes how the !Kung drive lions and hyenas off of an animal carcass on p. 221 of his book The !Kung San cited in my printed Further Readings.
Ronald Berndt relates the story of Jumu, the young woman who was killed while traveling to visit her parents and brothers, on pp. 244-246 of his book Excess and Restraint cited in my printed Further Readings.
Chapter 8. Lions and other dangers
There is an enormous literature by psychologists, engineers, physicians, behavioral ecologists, insurance company analysts, and other scholars on risk, uncertainty, and related subjects. Some classic references in this area, to guide interesting readers to other sources, are as follows. For the relationship between safety, benefit, and acceptable risks: Chauncey Starr, “Social benefit versus technological risks: what is our society willing to pay for safety?” (Science 165: 1232-1238 (1969)). For uncertainty and decision-making: Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahnemann, “Judgment under uncertainty: heuristics and biases” (Science 185: 1124-1131 (1974)) and “The framing of decisions and the psychology of choice” (Science 211: 453-458 (1981)). For the discrepancies between our ranking of risks and the actual risks: Paul Slovic, “Perception of risks” (Science 236: 280-285 (1987)). For our irrational assessments of risks: Melvin Konner Why the Reckless Survive: and Other Secrets of Human Nature (New York: Penguin, 1990), especially the chapter with that same title on pp. 125-139. For unpredictable outcomes of behavior and decisions: Bruce Winterhalder, “Risks and decision-making,” pp. 433-445 in R.I.M. Dunbar and Louise Barrett, eds. Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).
Carol Goland’s study of field scattering by Andean peasants is: “Field scattering as agricultural risk management: a case study from Cuyo Cuyo, Department of Puno, Peru” (Mountain Research and Development 13: 317-338 (1993)). I discussed the relevance of Goland’s results for investors, hedge fund managers, and pension managers in an article “Foreword,” pp. ix – xiv in Steven Drobny The Invisible Hand: Hedge Funds off the Record – Rethinking Real Money (New York: Wiley, 2010).
I discussed the evolution of infectious diseases affecting human hunter/gatherers, compared with the crowd epidemic diseases that evolved since the origins of farming, in Chapter 11 of my book Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies (New York: Norton, 1997). A subsequent and more detailed analysis is by Nathan Wolfe, Claire Panosian, and Jared Diamond, “Origins of major human infectious diseases” (Nature 447: 279-283 (2007)).
The books cited at the beginning of the Further Reading section printed in my book provide references for the Ache, Agta, Ainu, Aka pygmies, Dani, Daribi, Fayu, Great Basin Shoshone, Iñupiaq, Kaulong, !Kung, Mbuti pygmies, Ngarinyin, Nuer, Piraha, Siriono, Trobriand Islanders, and Yanomamo.
Sources for further information about some of the studies that I mention or describe are as follows. For A.F.R. Wollaston’s encounter with New Guineans dying of starvation: his article “An expedition to Dutch New Guinea” (Geographical Journal 43: 248-273 (1914)) and his book Pygmies and Papuans: the Stone Age Today in Dutch New Guinea (London: Smith Elder, 1912). The Anasazi and Greenland Norse are described in my book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (New York: Viking Penguin, 2005), which provides many references. Rainfall records at Pomio are included in J.R. McAlpine, Gael Keig, and Karen Short Climatic Tables for Papua New Guinea (Melbourne: Division of Land Use Research Technical Paper no. 37, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Australia, 1975).
Food storage among the Itenm’i of the Kamchatka Peninsula is discussed by Victor Shmirelman, “The Itenm’i,” pp. 147-151 in Richard Lee and Richard Daly, eds. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Hunters and Gatherers (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999).
Effects of injuries and illnesses on foraging behavior are discussed by Lawrence Sugiyama and Richard Chacon, “Effects of illness and injury on foraging among the Yora and Shiwiar: pathology risk as adaptive problem,” pp. 371 – 395 in L. Cronk, N. Chagnon, and W. Irons, eds. Human Behavior and Adaptation: an Anthropological Perspective (New York: Aldine, 2000).
Sources of direct quotes in my chapter from books already cited in my printed Further Readings are as follows. From Sabina Kuegler, about the Fayu, on my p. 276: p. 312 in her book Dschungelkind. From Jane Goodale, about the Kaulong, on my p. 284: p. 43 of her book To Sing with Pigs is Human. From Marjorie Shostak, about the !Kung, on my p. 285: p. 75 of her book Nisa. From Kim Hill and A. Magdalena Hurtado, about the Ache, on my pp. 285 - 286: p. 162 of their book Ache Life History. From Richard Lee, about the !Kung, on my pp. 301 and 302: pp. 118 and 114 in his book The !Kung San. From E.E. Evans-Pritchard, about the Nuer, on my p. 301: p. 84 in his book The Nuer of the Sudan cited above.
The source for the direct quote from Don Richardson, about the Sawi, on my p. 16, is p. 34 in his book Peace Child, 3rd ed. (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1976). The source of the quote from Carol Goland, about Andean farmers, on my p. 30, is p. 335 of her paper “Field scattering…” cited above.
Chapter 9. What electric eels tell us about the evolution of religion
The scholarly comparative study of religions began in the 19th century. The book that I found most useful to sample the older literature until 1965 is William Lessa and Evon Vogt, Reader in Comparative Religion: an Anthropological Approach, 2nd ed. (Harper and Row, New York, 1965). That reader consists of 81 short excerpts of classics in the study of religion, plus some relevant studies that one would not expect to find in a book on religion, such as a chapter on “water witches” who search for or divine the presence of hidden underground water by means of a divining rod. Another shorter reader consisting of five longer excerpts is Michael Banton, ed. Anthopological Approaches to the Study of Religion (Tavistock, London, 1966).
Two classics of the older literature, responsible for the most frequently quoted definitions of religion in Table 9.1, are briefly excerpted in the Lessa and Vogt reader, and one of them is excerpted in the Banton reader. The full references to these classics are: Émile Durkheim The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, translated from Durkheim’s original 1912 French text by Karen Fields (Free Press, New York, 1995); and Clifford Geertz The Interpretation of Cultures (Basic Books, New York, 1973). The Lessa and Vogt reader gives citations to the originals of other classics in the literature on religion. Bronislaw Malinowski Magic, Science, and Religion (New York: Doubleday, 1954) is a classic work on the anthropology of religion and its relationship to uncertainties in a culture’s environment. Other classics include: Edward Tylor Primitive Culture: Researches into the Development of Mythology, Philosophy, Religion, Language, Art, and Custom (London: John Murray, 1871), James Frazer The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion (New York: Macmillan, 1924), Mircea Eliade The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1957), and E. E. Evans-Pritchard Theories of Primitive Religion (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965). Keith Thomas Religion and the Decline of Magic (New York: Scribners, 1971) traces the parallel history of the development of both religious beliefs and magical thinking and how one influenced the other.
The subject of the evolution of religion is well served by excellent recent books. David Sloan Wilson Darwin’s Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society (University of Chicago, Chicago, 2002) discusses how religions compete with other religions, from the perspective of an evolutionary biologist familiar with group selection. (While many or most biologists deny the role of group selection in explaining evolved features of animal species, its usefulness in understanding recent human societies is undeniable, because humans do live in and often compete and survive as groups that tend to act in unity because of shared beliefs and behaviors). Two related books are Pascal Boyer Religion Explained: the Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought (Basic Books, New York, 2001) and Scott Atran In Gods We Trust: the Evolutionary Landscape of Religion (Oxford University Press, New York, 2002). Both books trace the origins of religion to the evolutionary psychology of the human brain, and both ask why we hold the particular types of supernatural beliefs that we do. That view is extended by Scott Atran and Joseph Henrich, “The evolution of religion: how cognitive by-products, adaptive learning heuristics, ritual displays, and group competition generate deep commitments to prosocial religions” (Biological Theory 5: 1-13 (2010)). Daniel Dennett Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon (Viking, New York, 2006) examines religion from the perspective of a philosopher aiming especially at American readers. Sam Harris The End of Faith: Religion, Terrorism and the Future of Reason (Norton, New York, 2004) and Richard Dawkins The God Delusion (Houghton Mifflin Co, Boston, New York, 2006) critically examine religion, especially its harmful consequences, from the perspective of atheists. Karen Armstrong A History of God: the 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Knopf, New York, 1994) and Robert Wright The Evolution of God (Little Brown, New York, 2009) concentrate especially on the emergence of the major monotheistic Western religions. Jennifer Michael Hecht Doubt: a History: The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickinson (Harper Collins, New York, 2003) begins with a 13-question quiz that will enable you to grade yourself along a scale from hard-core atheist to believer. Jesse Bering The God Instinct: the Psychology of Souls, Destiny and the Meaning of Life (London: Nicholas Brealey, 2010) considers religion as a sophisticated cognitive illusion bringing evolutionary advantages, rather than an irrational delusion.
The sociology of religion is well explored in Rodney Stark and W. S. Bainbridge A Theory of Religion (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1987). James McClenon Wondrous Healing: Shamanism, Human Evolution, and the Origin of Religion (DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 2002) discusses, among other topics, reasons why shamans and rituals produce medical cures for some illnesses. Michael Shermer How We Believe (New York: Times Books, 1999) places religion in a larger context of mythic beliefs with an evolutionary explanation that all such beliefs serve two purposes: explanatory and social. Carl Sagan Varieties of Scientific Experience (New York: Penguin, 2007) explores the relationship between religion and science and speculates about the origins of the religious impulse. Michael Shermer The Believing Brain (New York: Times Books, 2011) suggests a neurological basis for God beliefs. Robert McCauley Why Religion Is Natural and Science Is Not (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011) argues that “…religion has existed for many thousands of years in every society because the kinds of explanations it provides are precisely the kinds that come naturally to human minds.” Changes in religion over the course of human history are considered by Robert Bellah Religion in Human Evolution: from the Paleolithic to the Axial Age (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011).
Among the many articles in this field, several are especially relevant to the discussion in my chapter. Elizabeth Brumfiel “Huitzilopochtli’s conquest: Aztec ideology in the archaeological record” (Cambridge Archaeological Journal 8: 3 - 13 (1998)) argues that the religion of the Aztec state was aimed not only at tribute-paying commoners but also at young nobles who might otherwise have been inclined to scheme against the emperor. William Irons ”Religion as a hard-to-fake sign of commitment” (pp. 292-309 in Randolph Nesse, ed. Evolution and the Capacity for Commitment (Russell Sage Foundation, New York, 2001)) asks why signs of commitment to religion tend to be costly and hence believable. Two papers compare the durability of religious and secular communes: Richard Sosis “Religion and intragroup cooperation: preliminary results of a comparative analysis of utopian communities” (Cross-cultural Research 34: 70 - 87 (2000)) and Richard Sosis and E. Bressler “Cooperation and commune longevity: a test of the costly signalling theory of religion” (Cross-cultural Research 37: 211 - 239 (2003)). Richard Sosis and W. Penn Handwerker, “Psalms and coping with uncertainty: Israeli women’s responses to the 2006 Lebanon war” (American Anthropologist 113: 40 – 55 (2011)) discuss recitation of psalms as a stress reduction technique. Explanations of suffering offered by different societies around the world are compared by Richard Shweder et. al “The ‘big three’ of morality (autonomy, community, divinity) and the ‘big three’ explanations of suffering” (pp. 119 - 169 in Richard Shweder Why Do Men Barbeque?: Recipes for Cult and Psychology (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 2003)). Charles Blow, “Religious outlier” (New York Times, Sept. 4, 2010) uses data from a Gallup report to plot the relationship between religious devotion and poverty among the world’s nations. Gregory Paul, “Religiosity tied to socioeconomic status” (Science 327: 642 (2010)), provides a summary and bibliography of that relationship.
The functions and evolution of fish electric organs are discussed by Peter Moller Electric Fishes: History and Behavior (London: Chapman and Hall, 1995); Stanley Finger and Marco Piccolino The Shocking History of Electric Fishes (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011); H.W. Lissmann, “Electric location by fishes” (Scientific American 208, no. 3: 50-59 (1963)); Theodore Bullock, “Seeing the world through a new sense: electroreception in fish” (American Scientist 61: 316-325 (1973)); Vielka Salazar and Philip Stoddard, “Social competition affects electric signal plasticity and steroid levels in the gymnotiform fish Brachyhypopomus gauderio” (Hormones and Behavior 56: 399-409 (2009)); Manuel Leal and Jonathan Losos, “Communication and speciation” (Nature 467: 159-160 (2010)); and Bruce Carlson et al., “Brain evolution triggers increased diversification of electric fishes” (Science 332: 583-586 (2011)).
Chapter 10. Speaking in many tongues
The standard reference listing all known modern languages of the world, giving their estimated number of speakers and status (secure or endangered or extinct), and mapping their geographic distribution, is M. Paul Lewis, ed. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, 16th ed. (Dallas: SIL International, 2009).
Surveys and classifications of the world’s languages include: Merritt Ruhlen A Guide to the World’s Languages, vol. 1 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1987); Bernard Comrie, ed. The World’s Major Languages (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987); and Bernard Comrie, Stephen Matthews, and Maria Polinsky The Atlas of Languages: the Origin and Development of Languages throughout the World (New York: Facts on File, 1996).
For native languages of the Americas or else of North America, see Joseph Greenberg Language in the Americas (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1987); Marianne Mithum The Languages of Native North America (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999); and Lyle Campbell American Indian Languages: the Historical Linguistics of Native America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997). For New Guinea, see William Foley The Papuan Languages of New Guinea (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1986) (note: New Guinea also has Austronesian languages not discussed in Foley’s book).
For discussion of how languages diverge and evolve, resulting in the hierarchical relationships of languages, three books present different views of the origin and spread of Indo-European languages: Colin Renfrew Archaeology and Language: the Puzzle of Indo-European Origins (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987); J.P. Mallory In Search of the Indo-Europeans: Language, Archaeology and Myth (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1989); and David Anthony The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007).
Books and articles discussing the geography of linguistic diversity – i.e., why some parts of the world have more languages than others – include Daniel Nettle Linguistic Diversity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999); Johanna Nichols Linguistic Diversity in Space and Time (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992); and Thomas Currie and Ruth Mace, “Political complexity predicts the spread of ethnolinguistic groups” (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 206: 7339-7344 (2009)). The three books by K. David Harrison cited below discuss cryptic languages, dialect chains, and asymmetrical understanding of pairs of languages.
Besides the question of geographic variation in low-level language diversity that I discuss, i.e. the number of distinct languages, there is a separate question of geographic variation in high-level language diversity, i.e. the number of distinct language families or groupings. Low-level and high-level diversity are not tightly correlated. For instance, Vanuatu has high low-level but low high-level diversity: its 110 languages all belong to the same subgroup within the Austronesian language family. Again, Mozambique and Bolivia have the same low-level diversity (about 45 languages each), but Mozambique has much lower high-level diversity: all its languages belong to two subgroups of the Bantu branch of the Niger-Congo language family, while Bolivia’s languages belong to at least 18 distinct groupings. For discussion of these questions, see David Harrison Language Extinction cited below.
Language steamrollers – i.e., the spreads of some languages at the expense of other languages, made possible by demographic, social, military, or technological advantages of the speakers of the expanding languages – are discussed by Colin Renfrew Archaeology and Language cited above; Jared Diamond Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies (New York: Norton, 1997); Jared Diamond and Peter Bellwood, “Farmers and their languages: the first expansions” (Science 300: 597-603 (2003)); and Peter Bellwood First Farmers: the Origins of Agricultural Societies (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2005).
Multilingualism and linguistic exogamy in the Vaupes River area are discussed by Arthur Sorensen, “Multilingualism in the Northwest Amazon” (American Anthropologist 69: 670-684 (1967)), and by Jean Jackson The Fish People: Linguistic Exogamy and Tukanoan Identity in Northwest Amazonia (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1983). Multilingualism among Aboriginal Australians at Cape Keerweer is discussed by Peter John Sutton Wik: Aboriginal Society, Territory and Language at Cape Keerweer, Cape York Peninsula, Australia (Ph.D. thesis, University of Queensland, 1978). For comparisons of multilingualism among Montagnard and Wandala people in Cameroon, see Leslie Moore, “Multilingualism and second language acquisition in the Northern Mandara Mountains of Cameroon,” pp. 131-147 in George Echu and Samuel Gyasi Obeng, eds. Africa Meets Europe: Language Contact in West Africa (Hauppauge, NY: Nova, 2004).
For discussion of how speakers in multilingual groups decide which language to use depending on the audience and subject, see Kathryn Wollard, Double Talk: Bilingualism and the Politics of Ethnicity in Catalonia (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1989); Kathryn Wollard, “Codeswitching,” pp. 73-94 in A. Duranti, ed. A Companion to Linguistic Anthropology (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004); and Philippe van Parijs, “Europe’s linguistic challenge” (Archives of European Sociology 45: 113-154 (2004)).
The many studies by Ellen Bialystok and her colleagues on effects of bilingualism, executive function, and Alzheimer’s disease include the following. Ellen Bialystok, “Cognitive complexity and attentional control in the bilingual mind” (Child Development 70: 636-644 (1999)). Ellen Bialystok Bilingualism in Development: Language, Literacy, and Cognition (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001). Ellen Bialystok, Michelle Martin, and Mythili Viswanathan, “Bilingualism across the lifespan: the rise and fall of inhibitory control” (International Journal of Bilingualism 9: 103-119 (2005)). Ellen Bialystok et al., “Effect of bilingualism on cognitive control in the Simon task: evidence from MEG” (NeuroImage 24: 40-49 (2005)). Ellen Bialystok, Fergus Craik, and Morris Freedman, “Bilingualism as a protection against the onset of symptoms of dementia” (Neuropsychologia 45: 459-464 (2007)). Ellen Bialystok, “Bilingualism: the good, the bad, and the indifferent” (Language and Cognition 12: 3-11 (2009)). ). Ellen Bialystok et al., “Bilingual minds” (Psychological Science in the Public Interest 10: 89-129 (2009). Ellen Bialystok and Xiaojia Feng, “Language proficiency and executive control in proactive interference: evidence from monolingual and bilingual children and adults” (Brain and Language 109: 93-100 (2009)). Ellen Bialystok and Fergus Craik, “Cognitive and linguistic professing in the bilingual mind” (Current Directions in Psychological Science 19: 19-23 (2010)). Fergus Craik, Ellen Bialystok, and Morris Freedman, “Delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease: bilingualism as a form of cognitive reserve” (Neurology, 75: 1726-1729 (2010). Tom Schweizer et al., “Bilingualism as a contribution to cognitive reserve: evidence from brain atrophy in Alzheimer’s disease” (Cortex, in press).
Other studies on effects of bilingualism include Sarah Ellen Ransdell and Ira Fischler, “Memory in a monolingual mode: when are bilinguals at a disadvantage?” (Journal of Memory and Language 26: 392-405 (1987)); Carl Bankston and Min Zhou, “Effects of minority-language literacy on the academic achievement of Vietnamese youths in New Orleans (Sociology of Education 68: 1-17 (1995)); Stephanie Carlson and Andrew Meltzoff, “Bilingual experience and executive functioning in young children” (Developmental Science 11: 282-298 (2008)); Albert Costa, Mireia Hernández, and Núria Sebastián-Gallés, “Bilingualism aids conflict resolution: evidence from the AMT task” (Cognition 106: 59-86 (2008)); and Janet Werker and Krista Byers-Heinlein, “Bilingualism in infancy: first steps in perception and comprehension” (Trends in Cognitive Science 12: 144-151 (2008)).
For studies of bilingualism in children and infants, including ingenious methods of testing language comprehension in infants who cannot yet speak, see Ágnes Melinda Kovács, “Early bilingualism enhances mechanisms of false-belief reasoning” (Developmental Science 12: 48-54 (2009)); Ágnes Melinda Kovács and Jacques Mehler, “Cognitive gains in 7-month-old bilingual infants” (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 106: 6556-6560 (2009)); and Ágnes Melinda Kovács and Jacques Mehler, “Flexible learning of multiple speech structures in bilingual infants” (Science 325: 611-612 (2009)).
For the discovery and description of the kopipi, the Bougainville bird with the beautiful song, see Mary LeCroy and F. Keith Barker, “A new species of bush-warbler from Bougainville Island and a monophyletic origin for Southwest Pacific Cettia” (American Museum Novitates no. 3511 (2006)).
The following books discuss language disappearance and extinction, and how to combat it. Robert Robins and Eugenius Uhlenbeck, eds. Endangered Languages (Oxford: Berg, 1991). Joshua Fishman Reversing Language Shift: Theoretical and Empirical Foundations of Assistance to Threatened Languages (Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters, 1991). Matthias Brenzinger, ed. Language Diversity Endangered (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2007). Nicholas Evans Dying Words: Endangered Languages and What They Have to Tell Us (Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010). K. David Harrison When Languages Die: the Extinction of the World’s Languages and the Erosion of Human Knowledge (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007); The Last Speakers (Washington, DC: National Geographic Society, 2010); and Language Extinction (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2012).
Papers by Michael Krauss on the status of Eyak and other native languages of Alaska include “The world’s languages in crisis” (Language 68: 4-10 (1992)); “The indigenous languages of the North: a report on their present state” (Northern Minority Languages: Problems of Survival, Senri Ethnological Studies 44: 1-34 (1997)); and “Mass language extinction, and documentation: the race against time,” pp. 19-37 in Osamu Sakiyama, ed. Lectures on Endangered Languages: 2, from Kyoto Conference 2000 (Kyoto: Nakamishi, 2001).
David Laitin Nations, States, and Violence (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007) discusses the contributions of language differences and other factors to nationalism and violence.
Theodora Kroeber Ishi in Two Worlds: a Biography of the Last Wild Indian in North America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1961) tells the story of Ishi, the last Yahi Indian, as an example of how languages can be made to disappear by killing all of their speakers. Those of you who read this wonderful book will find a moving account of the collision of two worlds, and a grim story of a complete genocide.
The quotations from Winston Churchill’s speeches of May 13 and June 4, 1940, to the House of Commons come from pages 25, 26, and 118 of his book Their Finest Hour (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1949).
Chapter 11. Salt, sugar, fat, and sloth
S. Boyd Eaton’s and Melvin Konner’s initial synthesis of the implications of our traditional hunter/gatherer diet for our health under modern lifestyle conditions was their article “Paleolithic nutrition: a consideration of its nature and current implications” (New England Journal of Medicine 312: 283-289 (1985)). This theme was then developed into a book by Eaton, Marjorie Shostak, and Konner The Paleolithic Prescription: a Program of Diet and Exercise and a Design for Living (New York: Harper and Row, 1988). Two papers focusing on obesity and on chronic degenerative diseases were S. Boyd Eaton, Melvin Konner, and Marjorie Shostak “Stone agers in the fast lane: chronic degenerative diseases in evolutionary perspective” (American Journal of Medicine 84: 739-749 (1988)) and Peter Brown and Melvin Konner “An anthropological perspective on obesity” (Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 499: 29-46 (1987)). For many further references and a more recent reconsideration of the status of this field, see Melvin Konner and S. Boyd Eaton “Paleolithic nutrition: twenty-five years later” (Nutrition in Clinical Practice 25: 594-602 (2010)).
Some of this chapter is drawn from four previous articles of mine: Jared Diamond, “Sweet death” (Natural History 101 (1): 2 – 5 (1992)); “The saltshaker’s curse” (Natural History 100 (10): 20 – 26 (1991)); “The double puzzle of diabetes” (Nature 423: 599 – 602 (2003)); and “Diabetes in India” (Nature 469: 478-479 (2011). A book discussing many aspects of the mismatch between our bodies and modern conditions that is the theme of this chapter is Peter Gluckman and Mark Hanson, Mismatch: Why Our World No Longer Fits Our Bodies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006). The constellation of health problems derived from the Western lifestyle, termed the metabolic syndrome, is discussed by Robert Eckel, Scott Grundy, and Paul Zimmet, “The metabolic syndrome” (Lancet 365: 1415 – 1428 (2005)).
An example of the current global epidemic of non-communicable diseases drawn from cardiovascular diseases is given by Bernard Gersh et al., “The epidemic of cardiovascular disease in the developing world: global implications” (European Heart Journal 31: 642-648 (2010)). Obesity, a major risk factor for health consequences of the Western lifestyle, is discussed in the following papers: Michael Goran, “Ethnic-specific pathways to obesity-related disease: the Hispanic vs. African-American paradox” (Obesity 16: 2561 – 2565 (2008)); Abdhalah Ziraba, Jean Fotso, and Rhoune Ochako, “Overweight and obesity in urban Africa: a problem of the rich or the poor?” (BioMed Central Public Health 9: 465 – 473 (2009)); and Richard Johnson et al., “The evolution of obesity: insights from the mid-Miocene” (Transactions of the American Clinical and Climatological Association 121: 295 – 308 (2010)). An example of a natural experiment on non-communicable diseases resulting from migration is Thomas Robertson et al., “Epidemiological studies of coronary heart disease and stroke in Japanese men living in Japan, Hawaii and California” (American Journal of Cardiology 39: 244 – 249 (1977)). Two papers describing manipulative experiments on the effect of diet on non-communicable diseases are Frank Sacks and Martijn Katan, “Randomized clinical trials on the effects of dietary fat and carbohydrate on plasma lipoproteins and cardiovascular disease” (American Journal of Medicine 113: 13S – 24S (2002)), and S. Lindeberg et al., “A Palaeolithic diet improves glucose tolerance more than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischaemic heart disease” (Diabetologia 50: 1795 - 1807 (2007)).
Some papers discussing non-communicable diseases or the lack thereof in New Guinea and Melanesia are P. Sinnett and H. Whyte, “Epidemiological studies in a rural Highland population, Tukisenta, New Guinea: cardiovascular disease and relevant clinical, electrocardiographic, radiological and biochemical findings” (Journal of Chronic Disease 26: 265 – 290 (1973)); Lot Page, Albert Damon, and Robert Moellering, “Antecedents of cardiovascular disease in six Solomon Islands societies” (Circulation 49: 1132 – 1146 (1974)); S. Lindeberg and B. Lundh, “Apparent absence of stroke and ischaemic heart disease in a traditional Melanesian island: a clinical study in Kitava” (Journal of Internal Medicine 233: 269 – 275 (1993)); S. Lindeberg et al., “Cardiovascular risk factors in a Melanesian population apparently free from stroke and ischaemic heart disease: the Kitava study” (Journal of Internal Medicine 236: 331 – 340 (1994)); and Gary Dowse et al., “Extraordinary prevalence of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and bimodal plasma glucose distribution in the Wanigela people of Papua New Guinea” (Medical Journal of Australia 160: 767 – 774 (1994)). Papers on diet and health problems, especially diabetes, among Aboriginal Australians are Kerin O’Dea et al., “Traditional diet and food preferences of Australian Aboriginal hunter-gatherers” (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B334: 233 -241 (1991)); Kerin O’Dea, “Diabetes in Australian Aborigines: impact of the Western diet and life style” (Journal of Internal Medicine 232: 103 – 117 (1992)); and Kerin O’Dea, “Obesity and diabetes in ‘the land of milk and honey’” (Diabetes/Metabolism Reviews 8: 373 – 388 (1992)).
Three review articles providing good introductions to the complex subject of salt and hypertension are Pierre Meneton et al., “Links between dietary salt intake, renal salt handling, blood pressure, and cardiovascular diseases” (Physiological Reviews 85: 679 – 715 (2005)); Ian Brown et al., “Salt intake around the world: implications for public health” (International Journal of Epidemiology 38(3): 791 - 813 (2009)); and Feng He and Graham MacGregor, “Reducing population salt intake worldwide: from evidence to implementation” (Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases 52: 363 – 382 (2010)). A classic book on salt is Derek Denton, The Hunger for Salt (Heidelberg: Springer, 1982), while a more recent book is Graham MacGregor and Hugh de Wardener Salt, Diet and Health : Neptune's Poisoned Chalice: the Origins of High Blood Pressure (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).
Epidemiological studies examining salt intake and hypertension in populations around the world include A. S. Truswell et al., “Blood pressures of !Kung bushmen in Northern Botswana” (American Heart Journal 84: 5 – 12 (1972)); W. J. Oliver, E. L. Cohen, and J. V. Neel, “Blood pressure, sodium intake, and sodium related hormones in the Yanomamo Indians, a ‘no-salt’ culture” (Circulation 52: 146 – 151 (1975)); Intersalt Cooperative Research Group, “Intersalt: an international study of electrolyte excretion and blood pressure. Results for 24 hour urinary sodium and potassium excretion” (British Medical Journal 297: 319 – 328 (1988)); and J. J. Carvalho et al., “Blood pressure in four remote populations in the INTERSALT study” (Hypertension 14: 238 – 246 (1989)). Manipulative experiments investigating the effect of diet on blood pressure are Frank Sacks et al., “Effects on blood pressure of reduced dietary sodium and the dietary approaches to stop hypertension (DASH) diet” (New England Journal of Medicine 344(1): 3 – 10 (2001)); William Vollmer et al., “Effects of diet and sodium intake on blood pressure: subgroup analysis of the DASH-sodium trial” (Annals of Internal Medicine 135: 1019 – 1028 (2001)); and Jing Chen et al., “Metabolic syndrome and salt sensitivity of blood pressure in non-diabetic people in China: a dietary intervention study” (Lancet 373: 829 – 835 (2009)). Two papers carried out a controlled clinical experiment in which newborn Dutch infants were reared for six months on a low-salt or normal-salt diet, and reassessed 15 years later: Albert Hofman, Alice Hazebroek, and Hans Valkenburg, “A randomized trial of sodium intake and blood pressure in newborn infants” (Journal of the American Medical Association 250: 370 – 373 (1983)); and Johanna Geleijnse et al., “Long-term effects of neonatal sodium restriction on blood pressure” (Hypertension 29: 913 – 917 (1997)). For a manipulative experiment on effects of variation in dietary salt intake on blood pressure in chimpanzees, see Derek Denton et al., “The effect of increased salt intake on blood pressure of chimpanzees” (Nature Medicine 1: 1009 – 1016 (1995)).
Three skeptical analyses disputing the relation between salt and blood pressure are J. D. Swales, “Salt saga continued: salt has only small importance in hypertension” (British Medical Journal 297: 307 – 308 (1988)); Gary Taubes, “The (political) science of salt” (Science 281: 898 – 907 (1998)); and Katarzyna Stolarz-Skrzypek et al., “Fatal and nonfatal outcomes, incidence of hypertension, and blood pressure changes in relation to urinary sodium excretion” (Journal of the American Medical Association 305: 1777-1785 (2011)). Two studies of hypertension specifically in Africans, African-Americans, and Caribbean Africans in Britain are Feng He et al., “Importance of the renin system in determining blood pressure fall with salt restriction in black and white hypertensives: (Hypertension 32: 820 – 824 (1998)); and Srividya Kidambi et al., “Aldosterone contributes to blood pressure variance and to likelihood of hypertension in normal-weight and overweight African Americans” (American Journal of Hypertension 22: 1303 – 1308 (2009)).
Some other papers about salt intake and hypertension are Chisato Nagata et al., “Sodium intake and risk of death from stroke in Japanese men and women” (Stroke 35: 1543 – 1547 (2004)); Kevin O’Shaughnessy and Fiona Karet, “Salt handling and hypertension” (Journal of Clinical Investigation 113: 1075 – 1081 (2004)); Myron Weinberger, “Pathogenesis of salt sensitivity of blood pressure” (Current Hypertension Reports 8: 165 – 170 (2006)); Horacio Adrogué and Nicolaos Madias, “Sodium and potassium in the pathogenesis of hypertension” (New England Journal of Medicine 356: 1966 – 1978 (2007)); Andrew Bomback, Riley Bove, and Philip Klemmer, “Of snakes and men: the evolution of ACE inhibitors” (Journal of the Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System 8: 1 – 2 (2007)); and Philip Klemmer, “Salt appetite” (American Journal of Kidney Diseases 55(4): xxxi – xxxii (2010)).
As for diabetes, an article summarizing its prevalences around the world as of 2010 is J. Shaw, R. Sicree, and P. Zimmet, “Global estimates of the prevalence of diabetes for 2010 and 2030” (Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice 87: 4 – 14 (2010)). For the status of diabetes in Asia, see Ambady Ramachandran et al., “Diabetes in Asia” (Lancet 375: 408 – 418 (2010)). A detailed region-by-region review of the prevalence and symptoms of diabetes around the world is provided by Jean-Marie Ekoé et al. The Epidemiology of Diabetes Mellitus, 2nd ed. (Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2008). Discussions of diabetes include Gary Dowse et al., “High prevalence of NIDDM and impaired glucose tolerance in Indian, Creole, and Chinese Mauritians (Diabetes 39: 390 – 396 (1990)); Allison Hodge et al., “Dramatic increase in the prevalence of obesity in Western Samoa over the 13 year period 1978 – 1991” (International Journal of Obesity 18: 419 – 428 (1994)); Paul Zimmet, “Globalization, coca-colonization and the chronic disease epidemic: can the Doomsday scenario be averted?” (Journal of Internal Medicine 247: 301 – 210 (2000)); Paul Zimmet et al., “Global and societal implications of the diabetes epidemic” (414: 782 – 787 (2001)); and Paul Zimmet, “The growing pandemic of type 2 diabetes: a crucial need for prevention and improved detection” (Medicographia 33: 15 – 21 (2011)). For recent updates about the diabetes epidemic on Mauritius, see Jeremy Jowett et al., “Genetic influences on type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome related quantitative traits in Mauritius” (Twin Research and Human Genetics 12: 44 – 52 (2009)) and Dianna Magliano et al. “Mortality, all-cause and cardiovascular disease, over 15 years in multiethnic Mauritius: impact of diabetes and intermediate forms of glucose tolerance” (Diabetes Care 33: 1983 – 1989 (2010)). The surprisingly steep relationship between television viewing time and mortality from cardiovascular diseases, much of it related to diabetes, is documented by D.W. Dunstan et al., “Television viewing time and mortality: the Australian diabetes, obesity and lifestyle study (AusDiab)” (Circulation 121: 384-391 (2010)). Accounts of the Pimas include Frank Russell, The Pima Indians (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1975); and W. Knowler et al., “Diabetes mellitus in the Pima Indians: incidence, risk factors and pathogenesis” (Diabetes/Metabolism Reviews 6: 1 – 27 (1990)). The diabetes explosion on Nauru is described by G. Dowse et al., “Decline in incidence of epidemic glucose intolerance in Nauruans: implications for the ‘thrifty genotype’” (American Journal of Epidemiology 133: 1093 – 1104 (1991)), and by H. Rubinstein and Paul Zimmet, Phosphate, Wealth, and Health in Nauru: a Study of Lifestyle Change (Gundaroo: Vrolga, 1993).
Diabetes in India is summarized in the following articles by Dr. Viswanathan Mohan and his colleagues: V. Mohan et al., “Intra-urban differences in the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in southern India – the Chennai Urban Population Study (CUPS no. 4)” (Diabetic Medicine 18: 280 – 287 (2001)); R. Pradeepa and V. Mohan, “The changing scenario of the diabetes epidemic: implications for India” (Indian Journal of Medical Research 116: 121 – 132 (2002)); V. Mohan et al., “Secular trends in the prevalence of diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance in urban South India – the Chennai Urban Rural Epidemiology Study (CURES-17)” (Diabetologia 49: 1175 – 1178 (2006)); V. Mohan et al., “Epidemiology of type 2 diabetes: Indian scenario” (Indian Journal of Medical Research 125: 217 – 230 (2007)); V. Mohan et al., “Urban rural differences in prevalence of self-reported diabetes in India – the WHO-ICMR Indian NCD risk factor surveillance” (Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice 80: 159 – 168 (2008)); V. Mohan et al., “Incidence of diabetes and pre-diabetes in a selected urban South Indian population (CUPS-19)” (Journal of the Association of Physicians of India 56: 152 – 157 (2008)); V. Mohan et al., “Can the diabetes/cardiovascular disease epidemic in India be explained, at least in part, by excess refined grain (rice) intake?” (Indian Journal of Medical Research 131: 369 – 372 (2010)); S. Sandeep, A. Ganesan, and V. Mohan, Development and Updation of the Diabetes Atlas of India (2010); and Rajendra Pradeepa et al., “Risk factors for microvascular complications of diabetes among South Indian subjects with type 2 diabetes – the Chennai urban rural epidemiology study (CURES) eye study-5” (Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics 12: 755 – 761 (2010)).
James Neel set out his thrifty genotype hypothesis in an article, “Diabetes mellitus: a ‘thrifty’ genotype rendered detrimental by ‘progress’?” (American Journal of Human Genetics 14: 353 – 362 (1962)). The following papers provide criticisms, extensions, or alternatives for the thrifty genotype hypothesis: C. Hales and David Barker, “Type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus: the thrifty phenotype hypothesis” (Diabetologia 35: 595 – 601 (1992)); Andrew Prentice, Pura Rayco-Solon and Sophie Moore, “Insights from the developing world: thrifty genotypes and thrifty phenotypes” (Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 64: 153 – 161 (2005)); Daniel Benyshek and James Watson, “Exploring the thrifty genotype’s food-shortage assumptions: a cross-cultural comparison of ethnographic accounts of food security among foraging and agricultural societies” (American Journal of Physical Anthropology 131: 120 – 126 (2006)); J. R. Speakman, “Thrifty genes for obesity, an attractive but flawed idea, and an alternative perspective: the ‘drifty gene’ hypothesis” (International Journal of Obesity 32: 1611 – 1617 (2008)); and Reinhard Stöger, “The thrifty epigenotype: an acquired and heritable predisposition for obesity and diabetes?” (BioEssays 30: 156-166 (2008)).
Books describing famines include: Ancel Keys et al. The Biology of Human Starvation (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1950); Andrew Appleby, Famine in Tudor and Stuart England (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1978); John Post, Food Shortage, Climatic Variability, and Epidemic Disease in Preindustrial Europe (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985); Robert Rotberg and Theodore Rabb, eds., Hunger and History: the Impact of Changing Food Production and Consumption Patterns on Society (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985); W. Gregory Monahan, Year of Sorrows: the Great Famine of 1709 in Lyon (Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press, 1993); William Jordan, The Great Famine (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996); and Cormac Ó Gráda Famine: a Short History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009). Conversely, David Kessler The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite (New York: Rodale, 2009) discusses modern Americans’ overconsumption of food, and what we can do about it. For the hormonal basis of the paradoxical observation that the more time you spend eating, the less you actually eat, see Alexander Kokkinos et al., “Eating slowly increases the postprandial response of the anorexigenic gut hormones, peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide-1 (Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 95: 333-337 (2010)).
Epilogue: What can traditional societies teach us
Interviews with Aka pygmy women are reported by Bonnie Hewlett in her forthcoming book on the ethnography of Aka and Ngandu women of Central Africa. The observations of Ache Indians, of the Yahi Indian Ishi of Northern California, and of Sabine Kuegler and her sister come from books cited in my printed Further Readings: Kim Hill and A. Magdalena Hurtado Ache Life History, Theodora Kroeber Ishi in Two Worlds, and Sabine Kuegler Dschungelkind.
“Further Readings for The World Without Us by Jared Diamond, Chapter 1 through the Epilogue, © 2012, Jared Diamond. Published by Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
These Further Readings by Jared Diamond for Chapter 1 through the Epilogue supplement his work The World Until Yesterday, published by Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. © 2012, Jared Diamond. All rights reserved. Used by permission of the publisher.”
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