Home | Events |

Exit Seminar: Cody Ross "Origins, Maintenance, and Transmission of a Costly Trait: The Evolutionary Dynamics of Female Genital Modification"

Jun 09, 2014
from 04:10 PM to 05:00 PM

273 SS&H

Evolutionary Anthropology Spring Colloquium Series

Monday, June 9 @ 4:10 pm

273 SS&H (Basement Seminar Room)

Cody Ross

Department of Anthropology, UC Davis

EXIT SEMINAR: Origins, Maintenance, and Transmission of a Costly Trait: The Evolutionary Dynamics of Female Genital Modification

The analyses presented herein investigate the conditions underlying the emergence, persistence, and inter-group transmission of Female Genital Modification (FGMo). We first present a mathematical model which demonstrates the conditions under which FGMo might be expected to arise and be maintained. In particular, we model how wealth and/or status differences among social groups might select for the emergence of this potentially costly trait, and how subsequent frequency-dependent forces might keep the trait in the population, despite its costs. We then conduct two empirical analysis to test the predictions of our model: 1) we use empirical cross-cultural data from Africa to test whether status differences and social stratification are associated with the origins of FGMo, and 2) we use recently collected data on patterning of FGMo in the African Diaspora and indigenous populations of Colombia to test hypotheses concerning the cultural evolutionary drivers of FGMo attenuation and inter-group transmission.