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Variability of Proportions.

by Broca "mesocephali." If the index sinks below 74, we speak of "dolichocephal," narrow or long skulls, and if it reaches 79 or more, of "brachycephali," broad or short skulls. Statistics have now proved that a medium form of skull prevails in the majority of inhabitants of a given region, so that the further the grades of deviation are removed from the medium form, the more rapidly does the number of skulls diminish by which these grades are represented. This is exactly what every one will expect who considers specific and racial characters as something variable, who recognizes in animated nature only individuals, and who assumes with Goethe that species exist only in the school-books of systematists. Even the average proportions of the skull vary within the limits of individual races. The dimensions which Welcker has found in the Malay nations, are especially surprising. We will first notice only the index of breadth, and setting aside the highly dolichocephalic skulls (68) of the inhabitants of the Carolinas, because as Micronesians they are not free from suspicion of mixed blood, we find the Maori of New Zealand, with an index of 73, still on the verge of dolichocephalism. Next in the scale of mesocephalism are the skulls of the Marquesas islanders (74), the Tahitians (75), the inhabitants of Chatham Island (76), the Kanakas of the Sandwich archipelago (77). On the large islands between Australia and Asia we find the Dyaks of Borneo with 75, the Balinese with 76, the Amboynese with 77, and skulls from Sumatra with 77, and from Mancassar with 78, given as their index. To these mesocephali must be added, as brachycephali, the Javans and Buginese with 79, the Menadorese with 80, and the Madurese with 82.


Of the nineteen gradations of breadth the skulls of the Malay family occupy no less than nine, from 73 to 82. It cannot be said in this case that the Malay skulls present mongrel forms, for surrounded as they are by dolichocephali, they cannot owe their brachycephalism to intercrossing. But if they had originally been brachycephalic this would have been preeminently displayed in the Dyaks, for they must be regarded as the purest representatives of the old Malay type. The results of measurement thus compel us to acknowledge that the relative proportions of the skull vary considerably within the same race. It is now believed

that all the Polynesians distributed themselves over the South Seas, from the Samoa or Navigators' group, in three directions. These migrations commenced at least 3000 years ago. The Samoans themselves have remained free from any foreign mixture, and the islands to which the emigrants repaired were totally uninhabited. Here, therefore, we have before us facts which could not have been better arranged for an anthropological experiment. Here we may carefully ascertain by measurement what alterations have taken place in cranial proportions in the course of 3000 years, as the results of emigration and isolation. It is true we have already founded some statements on Welcker's measurements; but the number of skulls at his disposal is not sufficient to establish reliable averages, and, moreover, he has no indexes from the two most important groups of islands. Samoan and Tongan skulls are the most essential, for they probably represent the original dimensions of the Polynesian type, and next, skulls from the Paumota islands, or Low Archipelago. These latter coral islands were an extremely unfavourable abode, so that on its atolls the Polynesian race must have greatly deteriorated from the social elevation which it occupied at the time of the migration. The interest with which anthropologists look forward to consignments of skulls or cranial measurements from the Paumotas may therefore be conceived. Barnard Davis, who had a larger number of Polynesian skulls at his disposal, arrived at similar results, although he found smaller fluctuations. According to him, the Maori, with an index of 75, are most inclined to dolichocephalism, while the Javans (82) appear still more brachycephalic than the Madurese (81).

Experiences in Germany have been eminently peculiar, but they confirm the statements we have already made in speaking of the condition of the Malay race. Retzius reckoned the Germans among the dolichocephali, although he subsequently ascertained that other proportions preponderated in Southern Germany. He formed his first opinion because it was chiefly the northern representatives of the Teutonic family that he examined. In Swedes the index of breadth averages 75'2, in the Dutch 75°3, and according to another Dutch table, in the English 76, in Danes and Icelanders 76'1. As mesocephalism commences with an index

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of breadth of 74, and ceases at an index of 79, the Teutons of Northern Europe are rather dolichocephalic than brachycephalic.

German skulls, on the other hand, give the following figures: in Hanover 76'7, in the neighbourhood of Jena 769, in Holstein 77°2, at Bonn and Cologne 77'4, in Hesse 79°2, in Suabia 79°3,21 in Bavaria 79.8, Lower Franconia 80, in Breisgau 80'1. To explain this increasing index of breadth in Southern Germany, our first impulse might lead us to ascribe it to an intermixture with the Celts, but that the Celts have not a very strong tendency to brachycephalism; the French, for example, are represented by no more than 795, and the Irish by only 734. In Scotland, where we ought to find a mixture of Teutons and Celts, the index stands only at 75'9.

If we must give up the Celts we must think of the Sclavonians. With them we find very considerable indexes, such as 78.8 in the Servians, 791 in the people of Little Russia, 79'4 in the Poles, 80 in the Roumanians, 80'1 in Russians, 80'4 in the Ruthenians, 81 in the Slovaks, 82 in the Croats, and 82'1 in the Czechs, these latter being therefore the most brachycephalic of all the Sclavonians. Now an intermixture with the Sclavonians might well explain brachycephalism in Thuringia, but not in South-western Germany, and, above all, not among the Teutonic Swiss, where the index rises to 814.22 Moreover, the German Austrians, who are surrounded on all sides by Sclavonians, ought to be more brachycephalic than the Germans. But the average index of the Germans is 787, and that of the German Austrians 78.8,23 consequently, the difference is much smaller than the liability to error in the measurements. We thus arrive at the conclusion that the Teutonic skull is highly variable, and that in Germany it perceptibly tends towards brachycephalism as it passes from north to south, and especially to the south-west.

21 Schiller's skull had an index of 82.

22 Weisbach found the index of breadth to be 81'1 in German Austria, 83.6 in the Czechs. As he measures the skull at the widest part, the divergence of his figures from those of Welcker is fully explained. Archiv für Anthropologie, vol. ii. 293.

23 His attributes to the skulls of the German Swiss (Disentistypus) an index of breadth of 86.5, of height of 81.8. His u. Rütimeyer, Crania Helvetica, p. 11.

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If we are to make further progress in craniology, the indexes of European populations must first be ascertained in greater numbers. With respect to Italians, we are indebted to Luigi Calori of Bologna for work of this description. He designates skulls with indexes of breadth from 74 to 80 as orthocephali (for which, however, we will substitute mesocephali), those with higher figures as broad, and those below 74 as narrow skulls. He examined no less than 2442 Italian skulls, exclusive of female specimens, and found 1665 brachycephalic, with an average index of 84 among them. The other 777, on the contrary, gave an average of 77. In Italy, as in Germany, broad and narrow skulls are locally intermingled. Of 100 Bolognese skulls of both sexes, 79 were broad, 16 medium, and only 5 narrow. Of 852 heads from Emilia, 733 ranked as broad, 110 as medium, and 9 as narrow skulls. Again, among 254 heads from Venetia, Lombardy, and the Italian Tyrol, 230 exhibited the broad, 23 the medium, and only 1 the narrow form. On the Adriatic shores, south of Bologna, out of 377 skulls, 265 were broad, 105 medium, and 7 narrow. Crossing the Apennines, out of 213 Tuscan skulls, on the contrary, only 134 are brachy-, 59 meso-, and 20 dolichocephalic. In the former Papal States, out of 200 skulls, only 52 belong to the brachy-, 100 on the other hand to the meso-, and 48 to the dolichocephalic type. Finally, out of 356 Neapolitans, 131 were reckoned among the broad, 162 among the medium, and 63 among the narrow skulls. From this it is evident that the northern Italians belong to the highly brachycephalic nations, but that towards the south of the peninsula, the skulls become elongated, and the medium form finally predominates.24 Here again a variation of the indexes is displayed, corresponding with changes of locality. Nothing else, however, could be expected, since all modern investigations impress upon us that all physical characters are liable to great fluctuations, that living beings in general are not developed in accordance with rigid primæval types, but undergo constant transformation. Above all, we cannot expect persistency of type in the human species, in which the greater number of races are capable of fertile crosses.

It is scarcely necessary to observe that the racial derivation of

24 Journal of the Anthropological Institute, vol. i. p. 110. London, 1872.

Cranial Characters unreliable.


any skull can never be inferred from its index of breadth. The narrowest Sclavonian skull, 728, might, from its index, be taken for a negro skull, for individual negro skulls go as far as 778, but negro skulls below 72 cannot be confounded with Sclavonian skulls. Among 237 German skulls, only one has an index as low as 69, falling nearly to the average of the negroes, 66, so that negro skulls below 69 can never be mistaken for German.

Statistical averages, when used with caution, have hitherto only confirmed what had already been made known by other means. All Egyptologists are agreed that the old type of the monuments has been preserved in the Fellaheen and Copts. The index of breadth, 71'4, agrees exactly with that of the Egyptian mummies. Even if Fallmerayer's extreme views are not accepted, the modern Greeks must yet be regarded as much mixed with Sclavonian blood, and the index shows us that the modern Hellenes with 771, have become considerably more brachycephalic than the ancient Greeks with 75. The same result was to be expected in Italy, where we find the ancient Romans recorded at 74.

As a caution that cranial characters alone are not to be relied upon, we will mention that Barnard Davis thought it necessary to divide the Eskimo into three races, according to the degree in which the pyramidal form of the skull was more or less highly developed. He designates the Greenlanders as the purest, the eastern Americans as the medium form, while the western Ameri cans are completely divergent from the normal type. That the Eskimo of the arctic regions are of one and the same race is an inadmissible opinion, however frequently they may have been confounded by travellers, or whatever may be the evidence afforded by their language. 25 Their physical divergencies are self-evident. Now, a great expert in northern archæology has recently proved that the Eskimo did not settle in Greenland till after the middle of the fourteenth century,26 and Barnard Davis might, moreover, have learnt from Captain Hall's descriptions

25 Thesaurus Craniorum, p. 224.

26 Konrad Maurer in der zweiten deutschen Nordpolarfahr, i. 234. Leipzic, 1873

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