Glimpses of Ancestral Family Life

  • A. J. Jaffe


Glimpses of family life1 and society among these Ancients can be obtained from our analysis of length of life (Chapter 4). We can infer the ages of Adam and Eve when they first joined, assuming that they were Homo sapiens sapiens, and about how long they lived together before one or the other died. Whether they loved each other, whether Adam helped with the children and the housework, and similar questions we cannot answer. Some answers can be guessed. But the intimate facts that make for a bestseller romance novel are beyond the capabilities of a life table to uncover. We leave such “descriptions, deceptions, and findings” to the writers of bestsellers.


Live Birth Life Table Nuclear Family Live Birthrate Child Death 
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  1. 1.
    For observations on the role of women in addition to childbearing, see Dahlberg (1981).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    In the case of ancient China, and perhaps twentieth-century China also, population growth was viewed as an indication that the ruling government was good. So the statisticians, when presenting numbers to the emperor, exaggerated “so as to please the reigning emperor” (Chen 1946, p. 2).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    We can calculate probabilities for every single year of age between 5 and 15 if desired. We do not believe that such work is worth the effort.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    The net reproduction rate minus 1 equals the currently more fashionable term intrinsic rate of natural increase. Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    In today’s economically developed countries, the ratio of children to women is much lower. In the United States, for example (1980), there were only about 3 children under age 5 per 10 women—(one-third of a child per woman)—between the ages of 15 and 45.Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    For an example of how the prehistoric Amerindians may have lived, see Gould (1980).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. J. Jaffe
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.National Museum of the American IndianNew YorkUSA

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