Exchanging fluids

Tomás Cabeza De Baca, Aurelio José Figueredo, Heitor Fernandes, Vanessa Smith-Castro

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Knowledge of evolutionary influences on patterns of human mating, social interactions, and differential health is increasing, yet these insights have rarely been applied to historical analyses of human population dynamics. The genetic and evolutionary forces behind biases in interethnic mating and in the health of individuals of different ethnic groups in Latin America and the Caribbean since the European colonization of America are still largely ignored. We discuss how historical and contemporary sociocultural interactions and practices are strongly influenced by population-level evolutionary forces. Specifically, we discuss the historical implications of functional (de facto) polygyny, sex-biased admixture, and assortative mating in Latin America. We propose that these three evolutionary mechanisms influenced mating patterns, shaping the genetic and cultural landscape across Latin America and the Caribbean. Further, we discuss how genetic differences between the original populations that migrated at different times into Latin America contributed to their accommodation to and survival in the different local ecologies and interethnic interactions. Relevant medical and social implications follow from the genetic and cultural changes reviewed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-86
Number of pages31
JournalPolitics and the Life Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • Assortative Mating
  • Dutton's Rule
  • Evolutionary Anthropology
  • Genetic Admixture
  • Latin America
  • Pathogen Resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Public Administration


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