International Journal of Anthropology

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 233–246 | Cite as

Biological traits and living conditions of Maya Indian and non Maya girls from Merida, Mexico

  • N. Wolañski
  • F. Dickinson
  • A. Siniarska


A total of 522 girls and their families from low and middle social strate were examined in the northern part of Merida (Yucatan) during 1988 and 1989. Marital radius in the parental generation was relatively long (146 km), and it was six times longer for non-Maya and mixed couples than Maya.

Living and housing conditions were similar for both Maya and non-Maya (mixed couples typically had an intermediate condition), except for sewage system (sanitation). The Maya income was 64% lower. Maya men and women were short. The girls from Merida were short, hyper-brachycephalic (short headed), and europrosopic (broad face). Among them, Maya girls were even shorter, more round-headed, and more broad-faced than non-Maya girls.

Menarche occurred on the average at an age of 12.6 years in mothers and 12.1 years in daughters. As the generation time was about 25 years, there was a slow acceleration of maturation (0.2 years per decade). Presumably, also stature has increased in recent years.

Key words

Maya Indian somatic traits menarche secular trend Yucatan 


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Copyright information

© International Institute for the Study of Man 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Wolañski
    • 1
  • F. Dickinson
    • 2
  • A. Siniarska
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Human EcologyPolish Academy of SciencesWarsawPoland
  2. 2.Unit of Human Ecology, Center for Scientific Research and PostgraduateStudies CINVESTAVMeridaMexico

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