An Ecology of High-Altitude Infancy: A Biocultural by Andrea S. Wiley

By Andrea S. Wiley

Highlighting the jobs of ecology, tradition, historical past, and political economic system, this ebook considers how the original mountain ecology and socio-cultural styles of the Himalayan area of Ladakh give a contribution to a unusual development of child mortality. It stresses the burdens of women's paintings during this zone as the most important to start consequence. An instance of a brand new style of anthropological paintings referred to as "ethnographic human biology," this learn makes use of the technique of human biology yet strongly emphasizes the ethnographic context that gives that means for human organic measures.

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1. Biocultural adaptive dynamics (Redrawn with permission from Thomas, R. 1998. The evolution of human adaptability paradigms: Toward a biology of poverty. , and Leatherman, Thomas L. ), Building a New Biocultural Synthesis: Political-Economic Perspectives on Human Biology. ). descent and relatedness) as well as socially defined. Populations can be large or small, although larger units tend to exhibit more heterogeneity in biology and behavior than do small groups. In general, we are interested in the frequency of physiological or behavioral characteristics of individuals as a way of describing a group but also to understand and account for variation within a group.

The book concludes with Chapter 7, which takes a further look at the short-term and long-term implications of the reproductive health situation. How does a high rate of infant death interact with local rates of fertility to affect overall population dynamics, and how does this relate to population-environment interactions and the adaptive process? As the process of radical social change continues apace in Ladakh, how is reproductive health affected? How do Ladakhi women and infants continue to try to cope with their unique circumstances?

There is unlikely to be one definition of “optimal” health for all humans. Descriptors of “health” or “normal human function” derived from 12 An Ecology of High-Altitude Infancy Western industrialized populations are not necessarily appropriate standards against which to judge the health status of other populations living in different contexts. For example, very high levels of hemoglobin might be seen as pathological among sea-level populations, but at high altitude this same phenomenon could be adaptive in the context of low levels of oxygen.

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