In the 1930s, the Otomi people living north of Mexico City became a model population for addressing the problems of poverty and “backwardness” of the Indian population. Mexican physiologists working in the capital chose the Otomies not least because they lived in easy reach of their laboratories. A collecting trip could be managed in a day and samples safely handled and promptly transferred to laboratory conditions. Following the Mexican teams that were funded by the newly created Autonomous Department of Indigenous Affairs, French researchers descended on the Otomies to study their metabolism, using the networks and infrastructures put in place by their local colleagues. Their investigations, aimed at establishing a standard against which to compare the metabolism of French peasants, required chosen individuals to come to the capital and undergo extensive testing under controlled dietary...

You do not currently have access to this content.