UNAIR NEWS – There is a special custom in Indonesia which simplifies the physical or forensic anthropologists to identify the unknown individuals. The custom is endogamy marriages. They are marriages between people who have similarity in ethnicity, origin or religion.
It was stated by Prof. Dra. Myrtati Dyah Artaria, M.A., Ph.D., in her scientific oration during her affirmation as a professor. It was stated on Saturday August 27 in the scientific oration titled “Identifikasi Individu Tak Beridentitas di Indonesia (Identification of Unknown Individuals in Indonesia)”.
Endogamy marriages cause the lineage of population mostly in the same group, so the genetic mix does not alter physical appearance of a population. Furthermore they simplify physical anthropologists in studying and identifying physical features of a population in Indonesia. Myrta confirmed it through her experience in attending anthropological conference in Australia recently.
“In Indonesia there is something special. The first principle of the nation “Belief in the one and only God” quite affects it. It limits genetic mixture,” said the professor known as Myrta.
She knew that there are inter-marriages in Indonesia but they do not significantly mix the genes. It was supported by her study on dental anthropology.
In dental anthropology, for example, she studied about dental eruption. She elaborated that dental eruption between Javanese and Chinese dental eruption is different. “So is the Arabic descents, there are some teeth which grow faster than the other two ethnics”, said Prof. Myrta.
In its relation to unknown individuals’ identification, one set of teeth is similar with fingerprints. If fingerprints are easy to be damaged, teeth are different. Even in a plane crash, teeth will not be damaged.
Her interest to dental research was caused by her mother who was a dentist. But Prof. Myrta did not have any interest in medicine as she was not brave enough. When she was in an exchange student program in the USA during senior high school, Prof. Myrta interested in Biology and she was a bright student at school.
Finally she decided to focus on Anthropology. Fortunately, at that time Prof. Joseph Glinka and his partner established Anthropology program in Faculty of Social and Political Sciences (FISIP) Universitas Airlangga. Prof. Myrta is the first batch of Anthropology. As she was interested in dental study and biology, she took physical anthropology and concentrated on it.
Prof. Myrta’s success to be a professor on physical anthropology cannot be separated from the role of Prof. Dr. Habil Josef Glinka, SVD. Prof. Glinka is one of the senior anthropologists in Indonesia. For 51 years in Indonesia, he has produced 13 doctors. One of them is Prof. Myrta who is now a professor on Physical Athropology.
Interviewed after the affirmation, Prof. Glinka shared his impression on Prof. Myrta. The man born in Chorzow, Polandia, was proud that his apprentice has been a professor like himself.
“That one of my students, my apprentice has become a professor. It was a great experience as I supervised her doctoral study as the promoter and co-promoter. I thought I will never experience it as in Indonesia, being a professor means being close to retirement. My second student, now is getting prepared also. Not for long, to be a professor,” said Prof. Glinka.
Regarding endogamy marriages, Prof. Glinka said that it is dangerous because it can cause defect to the descendants. (*)
Author : Defrina Sukma S.
Editor : Binti Q. Masruroh