Re: Social Problems (was Social Problems--Part A)

Charles Cairns (
Tue, 24 Feb 1998 05:48:04 -0500

On Monday, February 23, 1998 8:52 PM Glenn wrote re polyandry:

>There is a somewhat similar case among the Andaman Islanders at least
>polyandry. Cavalli-Sforza and Cavalli-Sforza write:
>"The numbers of Andaman natives had already declined considerably, even
>without the British. Today the Little Andaman Onge number no more than
>ninety-eight or ninety-nine people, too few to avoid close inbreeding. The
>result is that most couples have no children, or have, at most, only one or
>two. They are careful to ensure the tribe's survival, so if a girl has no
>children from a first marriage she is taken and married to another, and
>another if necessary." Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza and Fracesco
>Cavalli-Sforza, The Great Human Diaspora (New York: Addison-Wesley, 1995),
p. 21
>But then this may not be too much different from modern American culture
>with its high divorce rate.

Thanks for the reference, Glenn. It would appear that the Andaman solution
was a social mechanism with the outward appearance of western divorce but
the inward function of preservation.