The Maya Project: a mirror for human growth in biocultural perspective

2016-04-12T13:52:17Z (GMT) by Barry Bogin Maria Ines Varela Silva
Our purpose in this chapter is to explain how human physical growth reflects the biocultural environment in which groups of people live. We do this in the context of our research on the physical growth and health of Maya children and adults. The Maya are one of the native peoples of the Americas. There are an estimated 7-8 million Maya living in Guatemala, the Yucatan Peninsula and a few other areas of southern Mexico, Belize, El Salvador, and western Honduras (Figure 1.1). The majority, about 6.5 million live in the highlands of Guatemala (Bogin, 2012). These demographic statistics make the Maya the most populous Native American ethnic group. To better understand the Maya people we created the Maya Project, a blend of art and science portraying the biocultural realities of the Maya in Mesoamerica. One aspect of the Maya Project is a web site – http://mayaproject.org.uk. We will highlight some aspects of the Maya Project web site in later sections of this chapter. First we offer some explanation of the biocultural perspective of human growth.