Racial Criteria 1

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Racial Criteria 1


The modern science and technology endeavors to define and classify the various physical types, with reference to their distinctive characters, to determine the elements of which one or the other of the great families of mankind. Any classification of the human species must be based upon observable or measurable bodily characteristics of presumable inheritable type. For ethnological purposes physical characters may be said of two kinds.

  • 1. The superficial or external or outer characteristics, such as skin colour, colour and texture of hair, colour and shape of eyes etc.
  • 2. The internal skeletal or structural features such as texture, Cephalic Index, Nasal Index, facial angle etc.

    A. Colour of Skin. Colour is the most striking superficial characteristics of human divisions. Three colors are most universally accepted by anthropologists and ethnologists. Cuvier divided the human groups into three races according to colour of skin.
  • 1. Caucasicus(White colour), or Leucoderms
  • 2. Mongoloid(Yellow colour) or canthoderms
  • 3. Negro (Black colour) or Melanoderms.

    But this is a very defective method of judging because of the overlapping of many shades among the races and because of skin colour being evidently adaptive in relation to climate. For examples the white skinned people even within Europe vary from pinkish white among north Europeans to light brown among the south Europeans.

    B. Colour and Texture of Hair. Hair may be straight, wooly, red or light brown and wavy. Haddon, in 1924, has made hair the chief basis of classification.

  • 1. Ulotrichi - Frizzly hair, or wooly hair as among most Bushman Negroes and Melanesians.
  • 2. Cynotrichi, or wavy hair as among the Caucasians race.
  • 3. Leiotrichi or straight hair as among most of the yellow skinned peoples of Asia and among the Eskimo.

    C. Colour and Shapes of Eyes. The great majority of people have dark-brown eyes due to pigment scattered through the iris. The Pigmentation of the iris varies greatly among peoples of the world. Dr Beddoe has made eye colour the chief basis for classification and has combined this with hair colour and skin colour.

    Some shade of brown or black is the most common colour, but among the North Europeans blue eyes are prevalent. Another eye distinction is in the fissure or opening of eyes. The fissure is horizontal and normally wide among Europeans but quite narrow among North Asiatic in Southern Europe. The fissure is unique among the yellow skinned Asiatic, the outer angle being higher than the inner, while a fold of a skin, the epicanthic fold covers the inner angle of the eye. This gives the effect known as the 'Mongolian Eye'.

    Next: Racial Criteria 2

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