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Evaluation of the degree of mycophilia-mycophobia among highland and lowland inhabitants from Chiapas, Mexico.

Ruan-Soto F, Caballero J, Martorell C, Cifuentes J, González-Esquinca AR, Garibay-Orijel R - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2013)

Bottom Line: In Mesoamerica these categories have been associated to ecological regions.The classification and ordination analyses found two large groups comprising both highland and lowland towns.The obtained results are evidence of mycophilia among lowlands inhabitants in the Mayan region and of the fact that the mycophilia-mycophobia phenomenon is not expressed as a bimodal frequency distribution.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Mexico. ruansoto@yahoo.com.mx

ABSTRACT

Background: Mushrooms generate strong and contrasting feelings ranging from extreme aversion to intense liking. To categorize these attitudes, Wasson and Wasson coined the dichotomic terms “mycophilia” and “mycophobia” in 1957. In Mesoamerica these categories have been associated to ecological regions. Highland peoples are viewed as mycophiles, whereas lowland inhabitants are considered mycophobes. However, this division is based on little empirical evidence and few indicators. This study questioned whether mycophilia and mycophobia are indeed related to ecological regions through the evaluation of 19 indicators tested in the highlands and lowlands of Chiapas, Mexico.

Methods: The heterogeneity of attitudes toward mushrooms was explored in terms of ecological region and sociocultural variables. Information was obtained through structured interviews in 10 communities in Los Altos de Chiapas (highlands) and the Selva Lacandona (lowlands). We analyzed indicators separately through χ2 tests and multivariate techniques. The Mycophilia-Mycophobia Index was also used in the analysis. To assess which factors better explain the distribution of attitudes, we built 11 models using the Beta probability-density function and compared them with the Akaike Information Criterion.

Results: Most people had positive attitudes in both ecological regions. The classification and ordination analyses found two large groups comprising both highland and lowland towns. Contrary to expectation if mycophilia and mycophobia were mutually exclusive, all the fitted probability distributions were bell-shaped; indicating these attitudes behave as a continuous variable. The model best supported by data included occupation and ethnicity. Indigenous peasants had the highest degree of mycophilia.

Discussion: Results suggest the studied populations tend to be mycophilic and that their attitudes are not dichotomic, but rather a gradient. Most people occupied intermediate degrees of mycophilia. Despite there markable similarity in the degree of mycophilia between ecological regions, the Principle-Coordinates Analysis shows differences in the specific way in which people from either region establishes a cultural relationship with mushrooms. The comparison of models suggests that sociocultural variables explains the differences better than ecological regions do. The obtained results are evidence of mycophilia among lowlands inhabitants in the Mayan region and of the fact that the mycophilia-mycophobia phenomenon is not expressed as a bimodal frequency distribution.

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Principal coordinate analysis by communities. In bold letters are the communities from the highlands. Between parentheses are the indicators (See Table 1 for the description of each item).
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Figure 5: Principal coordinate analysis by communities. In bold letters are the communities from the highlands. Between parentheses are the indicators (See Table 1 for the description of each item).

Mentions: The classification analysis found two large groups, each comprising both highland and lowland communities (Figure 4). The PCO analysis suggests the apparent formation of two groups. With the exception of Palenque and San Antonio, the highland communities do not mix with the lowlands (Figure 5). The most important indicators were items 5.1, 4.1, and 3.1 of the interview, that is, in the communities on the upper left quadrant of the graph there were more people aware of non-alimentary uses and tales and myths including mushrooms, and with a positive attitude towards species without cultural significance. However, positive values along the second principal coordinate axis correspond to communities mainly from the highlands that were characterized by a greater fear of species without cultural significance. Lowland communities with negative second PCO values included more people without knowledge of the morphology of toxic species or the relationships between animals and mushrooms, and which have less mushroom specialists in their communities.


Evaluation of the degree of mycophilia-mycophobia among highland and lowland inhabitants from Chiapas, Mexico.

Ruan-Soto F, Caballero J, Martorell C, Cifuentes J, González-Esquinca AR, Garibay-Orijel R - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2013)

Principal coordinate analysis by communities. In bold letters are the communities from the highlands. Between parentheses are the indicators (See Table 1 for the description of each item).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3735042&req=5

Figure 5: Principal coordinate analysis by communities. In bold letters are the communities from the highlands. Between parentheses are the indicators (See Table 1 for the description of each item).
Mentions: The classification analysis found two large groups, each comprising both highland and lowland communities (Figure 4). The PCO analysis suggests the apparent formation of two groups. With the exception of Palenque and San Antonio, the highland communities do not mix with the lowlands (Figure 5). The most important indicators were items 5.1, 4.1, and 3.1 of the interview, that is, in the communities on the upper left quadrant of the graph there were more people aware of non-alimentary uses and tales and myths including mushrooms, and with a positive attitude towards species without cultural significance. However, positive values along the second principal coordinate axis correspond to communities mainly from the highlands that were characterized by a greater fear of species without cultural significance. Lowland communities with negative second PCO values included more people without knowledge of the morphology of toxic species or the relationships between animals and mushrooms, and which have less mushroom specialists in their communities.

Bottom Line: In Mesoamerica these categories have been associated to ecological regions.The classification and ordination analyses found two large groups comprising both highland and lowland towns.The obtained results are evidence of mycophilia among lowlands inhabitants in the Mayan region and of the fact that the mycophilia-mycophobia phenomenon is not expressed as a bimodal frequency distribution.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Mexico. ruansoto@yahoo.com.mx

ABSTRACT

Background: Mushrooms generate strong and contrasting feelings ranging from extreme aversion to intense liking. To categorize these attitudes, Wasson and Wasson coined the dichotomic terms “mycophilia” and “mycophobia” in 1957. In Mesoamerica these categories have been associated to ecological regions. Highland peoples are viewed as mycophiles, whereas lowland inhabitants are considered mycophobes. However, this division is based on little empirical evidence and few indicators. This study questioned whether mycophilia and mycophobia are indeed related to ecological regions through the evaluation of 19 indicators tested in the highlands and lowlands of Chiapas, Mexico.

Methods: The heterogeneity of attitudes toward mushrooms was explored in terms of ecological region and sociocultural variables. Information was obtained through structured interviews in 10 communities in Los Altos de Chiapas (highlands) and the Selva Lacandona (lowlands). We analyzed indicators separately through χ2 tests and multivariate techniques. The Mycophilia-Mycophobia Index was also used in the analysis. To assess which factors better explain the distribution of attitudes, we built 11 models using the Beta probability-density function and compared them with the Akaike Information Criterion.

Results: Most people had positive attitudes in both ecological regions. The classification and ordination analyses found two large groups comprising both highland and lowland towns. Contrary to expectation if mycophilia and mycophobia were mutually exclusive, all the fitted probability distributions were bell-shaped; indicating these attitudes behave as a continuous variable. The model best supported by data included occupation and ethnicity. Indigenous peasants had the highest degree of mycophilia.

Discussion: Results suggest the studied populations tend to be mycophilic and that their attitudes are not dichotomic, but rather a gradient. Most people occupied intermediate degrees of mycophilia. Despite there markable similarity in the degree of mycophilia between ecological regions, the Principle-Coordinates Analysis shows differences in the specific way in which people from either region establishes a cultural relationship with mushrooms. The comparison of models suggests that sociocultural variables explains the differences better than ecological regions do. The obtained results are evidence of mycophilia among lowlands inhabitants in the Mayan region and of the fact that the mycophilia-mycophobia phenomenon is not expressed as a bimodal frequency distribution.

Show MeSH