A Four-Letter Word
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Originally prepared for:
and Other Miscalculations, and Mismeasures:
Honor of Ashley Montagu
L. J. Reynolds
and L. Lieberman (eds.)
General Hall, Publishers
Dix Hills, N.Y.
very genesis of the field of biological anthropology was rooted in the
assumption that there are valid biological entities that can be called “races,”
and that these then are legitimate targets of anthropological study. Biological anthropologists have often been
somewhat slower than others to realize that those “entities” do not have
coherent biological reality. This has
been particularly true in America where the concept of “race” was more an
ancillary result of the circumstances of the human settlement of the hemisphere
and how this affected the way people think about things than a consequence of
the study of the real nature and dimensions of human biological variation.
The first biological anthropologist in America
to bring this to the attention of the reading public was a transplanted
Englishman, Ashley Montagu, who settled in the United States in 1930, the very
year that I was born, and has remained here ever since (Brace, 1997). Montagu’s most influential work, Man’s
Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race (Montagu, 1942), has had a
turbulent history. In the past, much of
biological anthropology tended to treat it as though it were a manifestation of
what we now refer to as P.C. --
political correctness -- in this case a kind of ‘feel-good’
manifestation of liberal wishful thinking (for example, Shipman, 1994; but see
the critique of that by Brace, 1995).
The approach may indeed be compatible with
liberal social thought, but it is actually based on a solid grasp of the
biological nature of human variation.
As the synthetic theory of evolution began to have its impact on some
parts of biological anthropology in the decade after the end of World War II,
there were some who realized that we could only make real biological sense out
of the nature of human variation after the concept of “race” was junked and we
started over from scratch. I was one of
the people who came to that realization when I started teaching at the Santa
Barbara campus of the University of California. I had been able to get Ashley Montagu to speak to our
undergraduate anthropology club there, and I was successful in getting him
brought to the campus in 1963 as Regent’s Lecturer for our winter term. In turn he invited me to contribute a
chapter for the volume, The
Concept of Race, that he was
editing to appear in 1964 (Brace, 1964).
In that chapter, I tried to show how to handle the study of the nature
of human biological variation after the “race” concept had been dispensed with.
That was a third of a century ago, however, and
there has been more than a bit of back-sliding in the world of biological
anthropology. With that in mind, Larry
Reynolds and Leonard Lieberman, of Central Michigan University, prepared a
volume of essays in honor of Ashley Montagu’s ninetieth year, and, to my great
pleasure, they invited me to be one of the contributors. This gave me the opportunity to completely
revamp and update the approach I had taken in 1964 with the addition of the
quantities of information and insight that have accumulated since that
time. Actually since so many biological
anthropologists still have not gotten much beyond the point of trying to
justify the application of “racial” names to human individuals and groups, the
information relating to the distribution of the separate aspects of human
adaptation has not accumulated as rapidly as it could have. Hope springs eternal, and, this time around,
just maybe the idea will take root and a new generation will actually go and
get the information we need to document the picture of which I present here in
outline form (Brace, 1996).
When I presented a version of this to the
Canadian Association of Physical Anthropologists in Windsor, Ontario, on
October 28, 1994, I was able to get the assistance of Humbert O. Echo, another
member of that extraordinary faculty in the Department of Homopathic
Anthropopoetics at the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople. Echo had previously been of assistance by
rendering some of the gambits I have essayed in versified form, and he had
allowed me to use that particular piece as an addendum to a comment, “What
shall we call ‘Them’?” that I published in 1996 (Echo, 1996). This is attached here:
Name of a Race
we ponder on the contours in the features of a face
resembles all the others which are from a given place;
potential harm would follow if we use a single name,
denote a group of people when we think they look the same?
there are no implications that a common shape will bear,
the clear reminder of the kinship that they share;
selection’s not delimited by groups of kin alone,
confined within the boundaries of a continental zone.
in the skin will give protection from the sun,
it doesn’t give a clue to how another trait will run;
the desert and the artic take the moisture from the air,
people from both places have a nose of length to spare.
cannot tell us who is mad and who is sane,
nuance of the forehead say a thing about the brain.
trait that is adaptive will pursue a separate course,
by the nature of its own selective force
crosses all the others in a fashion that defines
pattern without meaning made of independent clines.
each selected feature has a different place of birth,
mix within a region can have no collective worth.
thoughtlessly we verbalize without the proper care,
words can make an entity that isn’t really there;
much pigment or how little will suffice to give the right
warrant the conferral of the label “Black” or “White”?
beware the added meaning in the tag we lightly give;
it oftentimes determines who may have the right to live.
of the concept, and all that it can mean,
credence to an image that could best be called obscene;
use the very word is to be captured by its spell:
which we call a “race,” by any other name would smell…
C. Loring, 1964. A Non-Racial Approach Towards the
Understanding of Human Diversity. In
Ashley Montagu (ed.), The Concept of Race.
The Free Press of Glencoe, New York. pp. 103-152.
Brace, C. Loring, 1995.
Review of The Evolution of Racism:
Human Differences and the Use and Abuse of Science, by Pat Shipman. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 96(2):204-210.
C. Loring, 1996. A Four-Letter Word Called Race. In Larry T. Reynolds and Leonard
Lieberman (eds.), Race and Other Misadventures: Essays in Honor of Ashley Montagu in His Ninetieth Year.
General Hall, Publishers, Dix Hills, New York.
C. Loring, 1997. Montagu, Ashley (1905- ). In Frank Spencer (ed.), History of Physical Anthropology: An
Encyclopedia. Garland, New York. pp. 683-685.
Ashley, 1942. Man’s
Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race.
Columbia University Press, New York. 216 pp.
Pat, 1994. The Evolution of Racism:
Human Differences and the Use and Abuse
of Science. Simon & Schuster, New York. 318 pp.
biological variation is real, and its study is a most interesting subject.
However, we can make no sense of it if we start with "racial"
categories as entities for comparison.
Traits that are of importance for human survival are distributed in
clinal fashion according to the distribution of the selective forces that
govern their expression. Those
selective forces, in turn, are not constrained by human population boundaries
and cannot be perceived or understood if such boundaries are assumed as the
starting points for analysis.
are traits that are constrained by human population boundaries, and it is these
that allow us to recognize the part of the world from which their possessors
originally came. Those traits, however,
simply constitute 'family resemblance writ large' end have no adaptive
significance. Population samples will
cluster with their nearest neighbors because they share the genetic background
for such adaptively unimportant traits.
The best way to refer to people who display the configuration
characteristic of the clusters of population samples that come from the same
region is to use geographical designations.
Thus people can be identified as African, or Australian, or European and
the like. More precise localization can be achieved by using modifiers such as
West African, Eastern European, and Southeast Asian among any others.
relating to the distribution of Hemoglobin S, skin color and tooth size are
presented to show how each responds to the varying intensity of the particular
selective force controlling its manifestation.
The independence of the clines associated with each one demonstrates the
futility of trying to use a concept such as "race" to understand
adaptively important human biological characteristics. Finally, the case of intelligence is considered,
and it is noted that, while no human population today is living under the
circumstances that shaped the common human condition during the Pleistocene, it
is still largely true that it takes at least as much intelligence to survive
and contribute to the next generation in one part of the world as it does in
another. Since the conditions governing
the emergence of our extraordinary human brain power were essentially
everywhere the same during the long period of time when human intelligence was
evolving, it follows that the intellectual capabilities of the various living
human populations in the world are now also everywhere the same. Those who continue to advocate the value of
investigating "racial" difference in intelligence, then, are
evidently driven by a subjective desire to demonstrate that difference is to be
expected. At bottom, that expectation
is simply a manifestation of racism.
All good people agree,
all good people say,
All nice people, like us, are We
everyone else is they.
Rudyard Kipling, We and They
issues dealt with here are so important that they should transcend the
involvement and pronouncements of any single individual or school of
thought. If there is a possible
exception to that generalization, it would have to be illustrated by the life
and work of Ashley Montagu For more
than half a century now, he has stood for the view that "race" is not
only a "myth," but that it is our "Most Dangerous Myth," to quote from the title of one of his
most influential books first written in 1942.
The insights in that seminal work remain as true today as when he first
phrased them, and they can serve as a solid point of departure for my own
efforts in this paper written to celebrate the career and accomplishments of
the author of that signal contribution.
This gives me the opportunity to update my own first attempt (Brace
1964) to deal with the question of "race" written some thirty years
ago at the specific request of the very person in whose honor I am writing now
-- Ashley Montagu.
am going to begin with the conclusion: "race" is a social construct
derived mainly from perceptions conditioned by the events of recorded history,
and it has no basic biological reality.
Quite simply, there is no useful entity that corresponds to what is
popularly intended by the term "race." This was explicitly noted in regard to the case of Americans of
African ancestry by no less a figure than the late Gunnar Myrdal — that extraordinary
Swedish economist and author of one of the most perceptive books ever written
about the way things are in the United States, An
American Dilemma (1944:115). To
much of the reading public, this will seem like a complete absurdity. The average literate citizen of the western
world reacts with frank disbelief when told that there is no such thing as
“race.” “Why, it's as plain as the nose
on your face!” is one of the partially facetious reactions. When the anthropologist continues to insist
that there is no human biological category that can be called "race,"
the skeptical layman will shake his head and just regard this as further
evidence of the innate silliness of those who call themselves intellectuals.
feeling has been seconded by some biological anthropologists who have gone so
far as to say that denials of the biological reality of "race" are
simply the products of their well-meaning colleagues' abhorrence of the ills
and injustices that have arisen in its name. In this view, the denial that
"race" has a biological reality is itself the result of socially
conditioned perceptions. Myrdal, for
instance, was a social scientist and not recognized as an authority on
biological matters. However
well-intentioned they may be, then, such denials themselves presumably have no
biological justification and therefore lack validity. The cry of both professional and non-professional skeptics goes
like this: ‘If there are no “races,”
how come people are so good at identifying them?’ (and see how that rhetorical
question is asked -- and answered! -- in Sauer 1992).
what is this "them" that we are so good at recognizing? It is true that people are reasonably good at
being able to tell what part of the world someone comes from in a general kind
of way. Unless a person has parents
from very different parts of the world, it is not hard to tell whether a
person's family roots were in eastern Asia, western Europe, or southern
India. In addition, most Americans
would feel confident that they could detect the presence of African ancestry,
although in fact they are quite unable to tell whether a person comes from West
Africa or the eastern end of New Guinea.
There are reasons for that particular confusion which will be treated
later, but, although it introduces a touch of uncertainty, it does not really
blunt the general conviction that it is not all that difficult to tell at a
glance the part of the world from which a person's ancestors originally came.
far, however, I have said nothing about "race" — I have just
mentioned the characteristic appearance associated with geographic areas. Well, you may ask, why isn't that
recognizable appearance an indicator of the presence of something legitimately
called "race"? To answer
that, we have to come to grips with what it is that produces those
configurations that we can associate with given areas, and we have to consider
the biological significance of each such configuration.
One of the most enduring schemes of
"racial" designation divides the peoples of the world into three
large categories crudely conceptualized as "black,"
"white," and "yellow;" or in more orotund and polysyllabic
form, "Negroid," "Caucasoid," and
"Mongoloid." Early in the
19th century, this scheme was advocated by Georges Cuvier (1769-1832), one of
the most influential figures in the history of French science, although it was neither
original with him nor was it offered in anything more than the most casual of
terms (Cuvier 1817:1:94; 1829:1:80).
Some of Cuvier's readers interpreted these three "races" as
the respective descendants of the three sons of the Biblical Noah — Ham, Shem,
and Japheth (Murray 1834:255; Morton 1839:2).
many of the beneficiaries of the traditions of "western
civilization," this formulation was eminently satisfying because it drew
strength from its apparent roots in the Bible,
the most honored written work in existence in the minds of the Christian faithful
who made up the overwhelming majority of the representatives of that
"western civilization." In
addition, it evoked the sanctity of what westerners regarded as that most
mystically sacred of quantities, the number three — also long associated with
the Christian "Trinity" even though that baffling concept can only be
vaguely and somewhat tortuously squeezed out of the actual phraseology of the
let us take a closer look at what it is that makes us think that we can
understand something about human variation if we divide the world up into those
three categories. Are they really
comparable in the sense of being equally distinctive? And is there something about each that justifies its
identification as a category, and what is the biological significance of that
"something" if indeed it exists?
very name "Negroid" derives from the Latin word for black — niger — and the word used to denote that
color in modern Italian, Spanish and Portuguese is negro. Because southern
Europe is closer to Africa than the other European countries, it was inevitable
that contacts between the peoples of southern Europe and Africa began earlier
and were carried on more continuously than was true between Africans and more
northerly European nations. Eventually
when northern Europeans extended their contacts towards the south, they tended
to adopt the terms already in use by their Mediterranean neighbors. Early in
the history of English involvement in the growing trade of enslaved Africans,
and long before there were any English-speaking settlers in the western
Hemisphere, the term "Negro" entered the English language to mean a
native inhabitant of the African continent south of the Sahara (Pope-Hennessy
1968:46). The identification of native
Africans as "Negroes" served to focus the attention of would-be
categorizers on a single descriptive attribute — skin color. The presence of sufficient melanin in the
skin to warrant using a term such as "Negro" or "Black,"
however, is not restricted to the people of Africa alone. The native inhabitants of southern India,
New Guinea and adjacent islands, and northern Australia all possess equivalent
amounts of melanin in their skins. If a
word meaning "Black" is warranted as a description for people of
African origin, then it is also equally appropriate for those others.
use of the term "Negroid" obviously cannot distinguish between the
long-term equatorial inhabitants from one end of the Old World to the
other. In fact, melanin in the skin is
an adaptation that shields the possessor from the damaging effects of the
ultraviolet component of sunlight, and all human populations whose immediate
ancestors had been continuous dwellers of the tropics for 100,000 years or more
possess that adaptation to an equal extent even if they are only remotely
related to each other. As Darwin
explicitly realized, any trait that is under the control of selective forces is
"almost valueless" for purposes of tracing population relationships
(Darwin 1859:427). Obviously a
classification based on a trait whose manifestation is under the control of
selection will tell us much about the distribution of the relevant selective
force, but it will tell us little about the degree of relationship of those
populations that display similar degrees of development of the trait in
unwilling to give up so soon may raise points concerning the presence of other
traits visible in people with elevated levels of melanin in the skin, and
suggest that these hang together to indicate the presence of some kind of
fundamental underlying entity. Dark
skin tends to be associated with tightly curled hair, for example, and
dark-skinned people often have large jaws and teeth. However, hair form is the product of the same kinds of selective
forces that are associated with skin color.
Jaws and teeth, on the other hand, vary according to quite different
rules as we shall see later. For the
dark-skinned people of New Guinea and Australia, for example, jaw and tooth
size actually increases as the intensity of skin pigmentation decreases grading
from the North of Australia down to its southern edge (Brace 1980; Brace et al. 1991). Clearly the idea of a "Negroid race" has so many flaws
that it is best simply to drop it and start on another tack. More of that later.
right, you may say with some reluctance, if an essentially descriptive word
does not work to categorize human populations, how about a word that is
relatively abstract — "Caucasoid" for example? What could be wrong with using that
presumably innocuous term to stand for the people in the northwestern quadrant
of human habitation? The history of the
application and use of the term "Caucasoid," however, introduces still
further problems. The word derives from
the Caucasus, that isthmus of land that separates the Black and the Caspian
Seas and joins Russia and the Middle East.
Its use to denote human physical appearance dates from the
"racial" scheme offered by the German physician, Johann Friedrich
Blumenbach (1752-1840), in his doctoral dissertation of 1775, De Generis Humani Varietate Nativa (On
the Natural Varieties of Mankind) best known from the revised and
enlarged third edition of 1795 (translated and edited by Thomas Bendyshe in
1865 and republished in 1969).
initial reason for the focus on that part of the world was the assumption that,
as the Biblical flood subsided, Noah's Ark landed at Mount Ararat in the
mountains of the Caucasus. Although the
idea was not original with him, Blumenbach claimed that the living people of
that region comprise "the most beautiful race of men" with "the
most beautiful form of the skull, from which, as from a mean and primeval type,
the others diverge by most easy gradations on both sides" (Blumenbach in
Bendyshe [ed.] 1865:269). Adding to
this assumption of pristine beauty, Blumenbach went on to claim that
"white . . . we may fairly assume to have been the primitive colour of
evidently assumed that "Caucasoids" were the least modified
descendants of the people who allegedly got off the Ark at Mount Ararat and
therefore the best representatives of what God intended when He created human
beings in the first place. Other
"races" were said to have departed from the form of God's original
intent by a process of "degeneration" in proportion to their
geographical distance from the mountains of the Caucasus and the differences in
the circumstances under which they now find themselves.
I have actually written an overly simplistic
synopsis of Blumenbach's thoughtful treatise, and I have left out many of the
positive things that it contained. My
purpose is not to fault Blumenbach but to highlight the absurdity of the term
"Caucasoid." One could go
even further by noting that Mount Ararat is actually in Turkish Armenia, and,
if there were any justification in using point geographic designations to refer
to broadly related human populations, it could be argued that the term
"Armenoid" should be preferable to the term
"Caucasoid." Of course, the
designation "Armenoid" was used for somewhat different purposes in
other "racial" classifications a couple of generations ago (Coon
1939:628-629), and this makes it as tainted as "Caucasoid." Again, the best thing to do is to abandon
the use of any narrow regional designation as a means of encompassing the
perceived similarities of human groups distributed across widespread geographic
expanses. The related morphological
pattern that we can see running from Scandinavia to the Middle East is poorly
served by trying to indicate this by using a narrowly local term, whether that
be "Armenoid," "Norwegioid," or "Caucasoid."
right, so descriptive terms and narrow regional designations fail to serve our
purposes, but what about names derived from human groups? What could be wrong with the use of the term
"Mongoloids" to refer to all the related people of eastern Asia? In fact, it has all of the flaws present in
narrow regional designations plus some others as well. Just as the Norse or Armenians are
inappropriate to use as representatives of all of the people who extend between
Norway and Armenia, the Mongols are inappropriate to stand for all of the
people who extend from Mongolia to Indonesia.
further less-than-positive connotations to the term "Mongoloid" is
the long-time usage of that term to refer to the visible features associated
with an inherited syndrome that occurs as a result of irregularities in the
transmission of chromosome 21. The
first full description was published in 1866 by the English physician, John
Langdon Down (Patterson 1987).
the syndrome recognized by Dr. Down was first described, it was noted that the English
children in whom it was observed were afflicted with developmental defects that
influenced a series of systems. These
included the growth and ossification of the interorbital portion of the face as
well as the normally expected path of intellectual maturation. Affected children are also observed to
display an alteration in the expected course of pigment production giving a
slightly yellowish cast to their appearance.
In the European mind, all of these manifestations reminded them of their
stereotypic picture of the inhabitants of eastern Asia — flattish of face,
yellowish in color and mentally dull and lethargic. The inherited interference with development observed by Dr. Down
then was duly labeled "Mongolism" or, in more pejorative fashion,
"Mongoloid idiocy." Implicit
in this was the feeling that the genetic defect which caused the syndrome was
related to the hereditary reasons why the people of eastern Asia differ in
general appearance from the people of western Europe. Subsequent generations of geneticists and physicians have
recognized the blatant racism behind such attitudes and have sought to correct
this by eliminating the term "Mongoloid" from the description of that
suite of inherited developmental defects and describing it simply as "Down's
syndrome." More recently, the
possessive has been eliminated, and it has come to be called "Down
syndrome" or "Down disease," and no mention is made of the
supposed similarity in appearance between those who are afflicted and the
inhabitants of Asia. The memory lingers
on in a large segment of the public in the western world, and, if for no other
reason, this alone would make the use of the term "Mongoloid" an
unfortunate choice of words to describe the population of a major segment of
there is more than just the taint of that racism in the terms of yesteryear to
illustrate the fact that the designation "Mongoloid" is misleading at
best when used in descriptive fashion.
The Mongols, as it happens, display systematic morphological differences
from the rest of the people in Asia to such a degree that they could be
regarded as the most untypical of that whole set of related populations (Li et
al. 1991:278). This is not just an
offhanded judgment. A standard set of
two dozen craniofacial measurements (the measurements and the techniques used
are described at much greater length in Chapters 19 and 20) was made on samples
chosen from all the available localities in eastern Asia. These were used to construct a tree diagram
— the "dendrogram" shown in Figure 1 — where the length of the stem
of each twig is proportional to the morphological relationship with the other
twigs to which it is connected. A short
stem running from a named twig to the next connecting link means a close
relationship. The longer the stem on
the twig, the more remote the relationship.
Figure I, the twig connecting the Mongols to the rest of the samples from
eastern Asia is the longest unlinked branch in the entire dendrogram. Other studies using slightly different
techniques have come to the same conclusions (Pietrusewsky 1992:42;
Pietrusewsky et al. 1992:552). Mongols,
then, are as morphologically remote from the other inhabitants of eastern Asia
as it is possible to be and yet still count as related (Brace and Tracer
1992:459). To use the Mongols as though
they could stand for something essential to all of the related populations of
eastern Asia is to run the risk of serious misrepresentation at best. Of course, the assumption that there is some
sort of "essence" that we should be looking for is itself
generation ago, Frank Livingstone produced the aphorism, "There are no
races, there are only clines" (Livingstone 1962:279). This fit in nicely with the assumptions of
the neo-Darwinian or synthetic theory of evolution that characterized much of
the outlook of the biological sciences that arose in the middle third of the
twentieth century. One of the most
important figures in that synthesis was the late Sir Ronald A. Fisher
(1890-1962), an English biological statistician whose quirky genius
occasionally led him into positions of dogmatic intransigence (Box 1978). His long-running feud with the American
geneticist, Sewall Wright (1889-1998), was a case in point.
had entertained the possibility that biological evolution could be conditioned
by a number of different factors including chance alone — especially when
population size is small (Wright 1931).
Fisher simply refused to acknowledge the actual mechanisms Wright
proposed (Fisher and Ford 1950; Wright 1951).
Their argument narrowed down to whether genetic drift could or could not
play a role in addition to the effects of natural selection. Fisher had taken the view that selection is
all (Fisher 1930), and that in those instances where we could not see how it
had its effect, the fault was in our finite and limited powers of observation
and understanding. Biologists who
accepted this conclusion were put in the position of assuming that all
discernible inherited traits and configurations owed their various
manifestations to the controlling effects of selection. Our duty, then, was to determine the nature
of the selective forces involved and to demonstrate just how these work to
control variation in the particular traits that respond to changes in the
intensity of their operation. If all
traits respond to the graded influence of their particular selective forces,
the intersection of their various manifestations to make identifiable
configurations in given individuals or populations has no intrinsic
significance. This in brief is the
intellectual background behind the phrase "there are no races, there are
only clines." Whenever separate
adaptively significant traits are controlled by separate and unrelated selective
forces, this still remains true.
me give a concrete example using variation in human populations. Before Livingstone coined that portentous
phrase, he had shown that the frequency of the gene for hemoglobin S — the
source of human sickle-cell anemia — is controlled by the intensity of
infestation with falciparum malaria (Livingstone 1958). Populations in the malarial areas of
tropical Africa, the Middle East, and on into India all show high percentages
of hemoglobin S even though a certain number of S genes are taken out of
circulation each generation because of deaths due to sickle cell anemia.
distribution of hemoglobin S, then, is unrelated to human population
boundaries. It is not an automatic
marker for African ancestry as has often been assumed, although many of the
Americans who possess it did inherit it from African ancestors. Africa itself probably received hemoglobin S
from the Middle East via Arab trade routes across the Sahara, up the Nile, and
down the east coast (Livingstone 1989b).
The circumstances that led to the infestation by Plasmodium falciparum, the mosquito-transmitted microbe that causes
falciparum malaria, are associated with the increase in human population size
and the environmental modifications produced by successful agricultural
practices in areas where that malaria-producing parasite can flourish. Those areas originally included the
tropical, subtropical and temperate parts of the Old World with enough water to
allow propagation of the mosquito vector and where the winter was not so severe
that they could not survive from one season to the next.
2 shows the distribution of hemoglobin S in the Old World. In its areas of highest frequency,
falciparum malaria also reaches high levels of intensity. If falciparum malaria is the reason for the
high frequency of hemoglobin S, one might expect that there would be a
one-to-one correlation between malaria intensity and hemoglobin S, but this is
not exactly the case. In Southeast
Asia, for example, falciparum malaria constitutes a very serious health
problem, but hemoglobin S fades out and disappears. The reason for this is the presence of another abnormal
hemoglobin — hemoglobin E — which, as it happens, also enables its possessors
to cope with malarial infestation but which does not have quite such serious
consequences in its homozygous — EE — state (Livingstone 18998a).
abnormal hemoglobins, then, are distributed among the world's populations
strictly in accordance with the history of their involvement with malaria of
various kinds and without reference to any other manifestations such as
geographical, cultural, or political boundaries or anything like face form or
pigmentation (Livingstone 1967, 1985).
In fact, this is the classic pattern for the distribution of any trait
under selective force control. And when
we turn to a consideration of pigment, that too shows a pattern of gradation
which is independent of the distribution of any other trait not directly
related to the intensity of solar radiation.
Figure 3 shows the distribution of skin color in the human populations
of the world.
in the skin exists for one purpose only, and that is to prevent the penetration
of the ultraviolet component in sunlight.
Attempts to suggest that melanin has any relation to mental function —
pro or con — are nothing less than unwarranted manifestations of racism (Ortiz
de Montellano 1991, 1992). However, it
is the 290 to 320 millimicron ultraviolet range, "mid-UV,"
"middlewave UV" or "UV-B" —.either alone or, as is usually
the case, in conjunction with UV-A — that causes the most trouble (Potter 1985;
Kligman 1986). The "trouble"
caused by UV-B is cancer. Particularly
affected are the cells at the bottom of the epidermis at the interface between
this layer and the underlying dermis itself.
These cells give rise to the outermost portion of the skin in a
continued process of renewal that has a three- to-four week turnover (Daniels et al. 1968). UV-B can cause damage that leads to cancer in the basal cells and
the derived overlying squamous cells that form the surface of the skin.
the United States alone in the late 1970's, European Americans contracted over
400,000 cases of basal cell skin cancer which amounted to an incidence of over 232
cases per every 100,000 people. At the
same time, less than three-and-one-half cases per 100,000 occurred among
Americans of African origin (Ackerman and del Regato 1985:180). At that time, the average number of
Americans who died per year from the effects of skin cancer was
some 5,000 (interview with Dr. Tim Johnson on ABC television, April 10, 1978).
designed and controlled laboratory tests have clearly demonstrated the role played
by UV-B in leading to skin cancer and have shown that the effects are augmented
when both UV-A and UV-B are involved, which of course they are in the case of
people and animals exposed to natural sunlight. It has also long been known that "white" skin will
allow the penetration of ultraviolet radiation right down through the epidermis
to the underlying dermis (Daniels 1969; Kligman 1969; Pathak and Stratton
1969), but that the skin of well-tanned or naturally pigmented individuals will
block up to 95% of the penetration of UV-B (Daniels et al. 1968:41; Holick 1987:1879).
And in the occasional person of African ancestry in whom a mutation has
occurred that blocks the formation of skin pigment — a condition known as
albinism — the skin will allow the penetration of ultraviolet radiation in the
same manner as in "whites." African albinos are susceptible to skin
cancer in the same manner as Europeans (Blum 1959; Friedman et al. 1991:10).
From the accumulation of the experimental and clinical evidence, it is
impossible to avoid the conclusion that the sole function of melanin in the
skin is as the first line of defense against the possible cancer-producing
effects of ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
being the case, the distribution of human skin pigmentation in the world should
correspond to the distribution of the intensity of ultraviolet radiation, or,
roughly speaking, to latitude: i.e.
dark skin color should be concentrated in the tropics where it is adaptively
advantageous. From Figure 3, it is
clear that the dark- skinned populations of the world are all located in the
tropics. However, it is also clear that not all tropic dwellers are dark skinned. The people of mainland Southeast Asia and most
of island Indonesia plus the remote islands of Oceania are nowhere near so
heavily pigmented as the indigenous populations of tropical Africa, southern
India, New Guinea or northern Australia.
And finally, there were no indigenous dark-skinned people in the tropics
of the western hemisphere.
obvious reason for this apparent discrepancy is that the relatively
light-skinned inhabitants now in those tropical regions must be comparatively
recent arrivals. This suspicion is
amply confirmed by the evidence available from history, linguistics and
archaeology (Benedict 1942; Barth 1952; Bellwood 1979, 1986, 1991; Solheim
1981; Bulbeck 1982). Historical
records, for example, show that there has been a continuing movement of peoples
southward from the older centers of settled agriculture in China to what had
been uncut forest lands in Southeast Asia.
Even where there are no written records, the oral traditions of a
northern origin and the trail of related languages all tend to confirm this
general picture. The web of what is
obviously recent linguistic divergence extends all the way out into the islands
of the Pacific where archaeology tells us that settlers had reached the
Philippines 5,000 year ago but had not gotten as far as Easter Island and
Hawaii in Remote Oceania until about 1,500 years ago (Bellwood 1986:107 ff., 1991; Pawley and Green 1973; Tuggle
for the western hemisphere, although the crucial events occurred long before
writing was thought of, and so far back that linguistic evidence is equivocal
at best (Nichols 1990:513; Greenberg and Ruhlen 1992:94), archaeology tells us
that the first inhabitants came over from the northeast edge of Asia by the end
of the Pleistocene almost 12,000 years ago (Haynes 1982:383; Hoffecker et al. 1993:51). The possibility still exists that people may
have reached the New World somewhat earlier, but the signs are all tenuous and
equivocal. From 11,500 years ago on,
however, the evidence is clear and widespread, and it leaves most professional
students of the matter with the reasonably comfortable feeling that the
ancestors of the "Native Americans" did not arrive in the western
hemisphere much before 12,000.
ancestors of the modern inhabitants of the tropics in Southeast Asia, Polynesia
and South America all came from the non-tropical portions of eastern Asia no
earlier than the latter part of the Pleistocene. We can assume, then, that the skin color of those ancestors was
not significantly different from that of the inhabitants of the temperate parts
of eastern Asia today. The reason why
they should have been characterized by that particular hue is a different
matter that will be considered shortly.
For the moment, however, what this tells us is that it takes a lot
longer than 10,000 years for the selective effects of UV-B in tropical sunshine
to produce the intensity of pigmentation seen in the skin of such modern people
as the inhabitants of New Guinea or tropical Africa.
related question is why people who live in the northern portions of the world
have as little skin pigment as they do.
All the available fossil and archaeological evidence indicates that
ultimate human origins were in the tropics of Africa, and that even after
spreading out from that base at the end of the lower Pleistocene a million
years ago, humans remained tropic dwellers with only temporary northward forays
for much of the rest of their existence (Brace 1991b, and in press). Humans still
have the basic physiological characteristics and responses of tropical mammals,
and we can guess that the common tropic-dwelling human ancestor of half a
million years ago had a degree of skin pigmentation fully comparable to that
found today among the inhabitants of equatorial Africa, India and New Guinea. This brings us back to the question of why
some modern people are less heavily pigmented than others.
all of the long-term inhabitants of the north temperate zone are markedly less
pigmented than long-term tropic dwellers, and since we can assume that the
common human ancestor was dark, it follows that there must be something about
living north of the tropics that leads to a reduction in skin pigment. There are in fact two possible
explanations. One suggests that a
lessening in the amount of pigment is adaptively advantageous in the north, and
the other argues that depigmentation is simply the result of a reduction in the
intensity of selection for the maintenance of epidermal melanin.
who prefer to see pigment reduction as the result of the positive action of
selection point to the evidence indicating that heavily pigmented people are
more likely to suffer the effects of vitamin D deficiency in the north
temperate zone than is true for people with lesser amounts of skin pigment
(Holick 1987). As it happens, those very
UV-B wave lengths that lead to skin cancer after prolonged doses are also an
essential part of the process that leads to the synthesis of vitamin D. The absorption and incorporation of calcium
necessary for proper bone growth is mediated by vitamin D, and a lack of that
crucial substance will result in abnormalities and stunting of skeletal
development known as rickets.
however, is a distinct rarity among the cats, dogs, cows, horses, sheep,
rodents, birds and others of the animal world that were native inhabitants of
the north temperate zone in spite of the fact that few if any indulged
themselves with codfish livers and that the skin in all of these creatures is
well protected from any possible ultraviolet penetration by virtue of being thoroughly
covered by fur or feathers. There is
one more oddity about this whole picture, and this is the fact that there is no
pigment in the skin of those thoroughly protected creatures. And finally, it
only requires a brief exposure to generate all the vitamin D one needs, and
summer sunshine in the north temperate zone is more than adequate even for
heavily pigmented skin to provide a supply of Vitamin D that can be stored up
in fat and muscle tissue in sufficient quantities to last the rest of the year
my perspective, it would seem that the reason for the absence of pigment in the
skin of most furred and feathered creatures is because of the absence of
selection for its presence. And I would
argue that the same thing may well be true for the human inhabitants of the
north temperate zone. Since there is
just not enough intensity of UV-B to generate cancers that would shorten
possible life spans, there was nothing that would maintain skin pigment at the
level which had characterized the tropical forebears of the long-term human
inhabitants of the north. A generation
ago, I argued that when selection is reduced or suspended, any trait that had
been maintained by a formerly active selective force should undergo reduction
in proportion to the length of time that selection had been held in
abeyance. Under such conditions, the
reductions would be the results of mutations alone — a process I referred to as
"The Probable Mutation Effect" (Brace 1963).
more detailed defense of the "PME" is presented elsewhere (Brace et
al. 1991 :41-46, and included here as Chapter 10). Here we need only note that those areas where the archaeological
evidence indicates that human habitation of the north temperate zone has been
continuous for the longest periods of time are also just those areas where
modern human populations display the least amount of pigment in the skin. In a zone running from the Middle East to
the Atlantic Ocean in northwest Europe, there is reason to believe that human
habitation has been continuous for the last 250,000 years (Straus 1989; Mercier
et al. 1992). It is in just that
stretch where the living inhabitants include people with the least amount of
pigmentation among the living populations of the world.
comparable latitudes in the northeast end of human occupation in the Old World,
the continuous archaeological record is only about half as old. From this, it would follow that relaxation
of selective pressures to maintain skin pigmentation at fully tropical levels has
been in effect only half as long, and depigmentation should not have proceeded
to the same extent as in the comparable latitudes in the west. Indeed, the modern inhabitants of Northeast
Asia are notably less pigmented than the populations who have continued to live
in the tropics without break, but pigment reduction has not proceeded to quite
the same extent as that visible at the northwestern edge of the human
range. And finally, it only requires a
brief exposure to generate all the vitamin D one needs, and summer sunshine in
the north temperate zone is more than adequate even for a heavily pigmented
skin to provide a supply of Vitamin D that can be stored up in fat and muscle
tissue in sufficient quantities to last the rest of the year (Robins 1991:203,
it does not matter which attempt at explanation is correct since both propose
reasons why pigment reduction should occur in areas where ultraviolet radiation
is markedly reduced from the levels of its intensity in the tropics. Either would account for the existence and
extent of depigmentation in the north temperate zones both east and west in the
Old World, and both offer reasons why the relatively recent movement of people
from the latitude of China south into Southeast Asia and equatorial Indonesia
introduced people with lesser amounts of skin pigmentation than one would
otherwise expect to find for people living in the tropics.
At the same time, the movement of
agriculturally based populations out of the Middle East during the Neolithic
and Bronze Age was predominantly an East-to-West phenomenon rather than a
North-to-South one (Brace and Tracer 1992).
The result was that the North-to-South gradation or cline in skin color
was not disrupted. To this day, skin
color grades by imperceptible means from Europe southwards around the eastern
end of the Mediterranean and up the Nile into Africa. From one end of this range to the other, there is no hint of a
skin color boundary, and yet the spectrum runs from the lightest in the world
at the northern edge to as dark as it is possible for humans to be at the
of the equator, the cline reverses, and skin color becomes lighter away from
the tropics towards the south. In
Africa, this lightening is more pronounced than the comparable case in
Australia, and the aboriginal inhabitants of the southern tip of Africa — the
San people once called by the derogatory term "Bushmen" — are no
darker than the people by the shores of the Mediterranean who are about the
same distance north of the equator as the San are south of it. Skin pigment also lightens towards the south
in Australia, but not quite to the same extent as in the African example. Australia, however, has only been occupied
for the last 50,000 years (Roberts et al. 1990), and evidently the process of
pigment reduction has not had time enough to proceed to the extent evident at
the comparable latitudes in Africa.
all of this, it can be seen that human skin pigmentation is distributed in clinal
fashion among those people who have remained in the latitudes where they are
found for a period of time on the order of 50,000 years or more. Where skin pigmentation is at variance with
our expectations of clinal variation such as Southeast Asia and the New World,
we have reason to suspect that such anomalies in human appearance are due to
population movements within the last 20,000 years or so. So far, all such suspected instances are
confirmed by the available archaeological evidence.
it is clear that the distributions shown in Figures 2 and 3 are following
different sets of rules. Evidently
neither one can be understood if one uses the old- fashioned concept of
"race" as a starting point, and yet both display vital but unrelated
aspects of human biological variation.
Each evidently is clinal in nature, but the clines have little to do
with each other. Each can be readily
understood when studied separately, but the pattern made by the intersection
between these two has no "meaning" in and of itself. And when one adds a third trait or a fourth
or more, the configurations that emerge tell us nothing whatsoever about the
nature and significance of human biological variation.
third trait that I am going to deal with is tooth size. It is neither more instructive nor in other
ways "better" than any other trait one could use, but it serves the
purpose, and I can use the information that I have been collecting myself for
the past several decades to demonstrate the nature of modern human tooth size
has long been a vague kind of perception on the part of European observers that
"other races" had larger jaws and teeth than those found in
Europe. Along with this perception of
greater size in jaw and tooth was a related assumption of smaller size of head
and brain. These were interpreted in a
hierarchical fashion which assumed European superiority as a given, and the
mere presence of a large dentition automatically led to the conclusion that the
associated brain was therefore smaller and that the position of the possessor
in the world was consequently "lower." None other than the eminent 19th century biologist and defender
of Darwin, Thomas Henry Huxley, declared that "no rational man . . .
believes that the average negro is the equal, still less the superior, of the
average white man." He went on to
say that "it is simply incredible that . . . our prognathous relative . .
. will be able to compete successfully with his bigger-brained and
smaller-jawed rival, in a contest which is to be carried on by thoughts and not
by bites" (Huxley 1865:561).
I go on to deal with tooth size and the circumstances that relate to size
differences between human populations, I should first dispel the idea that
large teeth entail small brains. There
is absolutely no relationship between brain size and tooth size (Brace et al.
1991:37). As with other traits of
adaptive value, the selective forces appropriate to the control of one are
completely unrelated to the forces responsible for the control of the
other. People do not chew with their
brains or think with their teeth.
Consequently, variation in one trait is completely unrelated to
variation in the other. Second, there
is absolutely nothing to sustain the idea that "other" people have
smaller brains than Europeans. When
brain size is corrected for body size, there is no demonstrable difference
between any of the populations of the world (Jensen 1984:54-55; Brace et al.
Huxley was wrong in his assumption that the African brain is significantly
smaller than the European brain, he was quite correct in his recognition of the
fact that Europeans have smaller jaws and teeth. Oddly enough, that "fact" had not been demonstrated by
any systematic quantitative study before he produced his declaration, and very
little attention has been devoted to the matter since that time. As it happens, the issue of tooth-size
differences between human populations past and present has been largely ignored
by the dental and anthropological sciences.
living human population has teeth that are as large on the average as their
predecessors in the Middle Pleistocene, so it is evident that dental reduction
has taken place over the last 100,000 years or more in the lines that have led
to all of the regional human inhabitants of the world. Reduction has amounted to at least 40-45% in
those who live in the north temperate zone between Europe and the Middle
East. This is the maximum amount of
dental reduction visible in modern Homo sapiens, although it is equaled in
spots in eastern Asia such as Hong Kong and the northern island of Hokkaido in
Japan. The least amount of reduction is
evident in Australia where it runs between 10 to 15% (Brace 1980). In sub-Saharan Africa, the amount of reduction
in the groups in the Congo Basin and in West Africa with the largest jaws and
teeth is around 25%, but it runs up to 40% in the Horn of East Africa.
documented reductions in the dentition have all taken place as
"archaic" human form — what I would call regional representatives of
the Neanderthal Stage — becomes transformed into "modern" Homo sapiens (Brace l991b:170,
1994). We are not accustomed to
thinking of the Neanderthals as cultural innovators, but the very real
possibility exists that they may have been "the ones who pioneered the use
of cooking as a regular means of preparing food" (Brace l991b:155). Survival in the north during the onset of
glacial conditions depended on the control of fire. Among other things, there would have been no point in going to
the trouble of bringing down a large Pleistocene prey animal if the thing would
become unusable within a day or so by virtue of having frozen solid. "Obligatory cooking" (Brace 1994a,b),
then, was a part of the cultural traditions of those who survived through the
last two glacial maxima along the northwestern edge of human habitation in the
Old World, and it has been suggested that the extensive hearth residues that
characterized the Mousterian sites occupied by the Neanderthals were actually
the remains of earth ovens in which they regularly thawed the products of the
chase simply in order to make them edible (Brace and Montagu 1977:335-336;
Brace 1978:214, 1979:545-546, 1992:16-17; Brace et al. 1987:713-714, 1991:46-51).
not only made it possible to eat what previously had been frozen, but it
reduced the amount of chewing necessary to get anything so treated into
swallowable consistency. The regular
use of cooking, then, reduced the amount of mandatory chewing. A reduction in the amount of tooth use over
a lifetime meant that teeth did not wear out quite so fast, and also that a
person did not need quite such a large dentition to be able to survive for the
otherwise expectable human span. Under
such conditions, mutations affecting tooth size could accumulate without being
automatically weeded out by selection, and, since most such mutations produce a
reduction in size, the predictable long-term results would be dental
diminution. Today, the largest number
of the people with the smallest teeth in the world are those who live in that
stretch that runs from the Middle East through to the Atlantic Coast of Western
Europe — just that area where the cooking of food has been in continuous use
for the longest period of time.
4 shows a crude picture of relative tooth size among the modern populations of
the Old World. The reader will remember
that it was in just that stretch running from the Middle East to the west and
north that pigment reduction began earliest and has gone to its greatest
extent. Pigment, however, is related to
the intensity of ultraviolet radiation, and teeth are only related to the
nature of the tasks required to process food.
Of course, food is more likely to freeze in areas of limited solar
radiation, so there is a degree to which the value of maintaining skin
pigmentation and the value of maintaining a dentition that could cope with
uncooked food covary to a certain extent.
Some of this is apparent when Figure 4 is compared with Figure 3, but it
is also apparent that there are areas where the traits are completely
evident value of cooking at northern latitudes meant that it spread into the
northeastern areas more readily than it did to the south. Dental reduction then followed suit, and
tooth size in Eastern Asia followed the same track that it had taken starting
somewhat earlier in the northwestern parts of the Old World. Eventually, of course, it spread south
because, although it was not necessary to thaw food in the tropics, the
repeated application of heat to the ripening results of a previous kill could
partially delay and counteract the noxious effects of the various
micro-organisms that would otherwise render the decaying products of earlier
hunting activities unfit for human consumption.
was adopted last in Australia, and dental reduction is least evident among the
aborigines who were encountered by the Europeans who settled there over the
last two centuries. Earth oven cookery
had spread to Australia perhaps before the end of the Pleistocene, but, in any
case, the kind of reduction in chewing stress that it represented got into
Australia later than anywhere else in the world. Not only that, but it spread slowly south in the continent and
never did get to Tasmania before the terminal Pleistocene rise in sea level
turned it into an island. As a
consequence, there is a tooth-size gradient in Australia running from the north
down to the south where people had the largest-sized teeth of any living human
beings. Even so, tooth size had begun
to reduce from the Middle Pleistocene-sized levels that were displayed only
10,000 years ago (Brace 1980:147).
of that recent reduction may have been as a result of gene flow from areas to
the north where reduction had already taken place, but some may have been
because of the relaxation of selection that followed the adoption of cooking
techniques. At the moment, it is not
possible to say how much of which led to that recent reduction. In any case, the pigment cline is reversed
and skin color in the south lightens in just those areas where tooth size gets
to its maximum. This is just another
instance of the general principal that separate traits will respond to the
changes in the intensity of the selective force that is responsible for their
individual manifestation, and that each will go its own way without regard to
what any other trait is doing unless that other trait is responding to that
self-same selective force.
in the overall picture of dental reduction, another event occurred which
completely changed things as far as the teeth were concerned. This was the invention of pottery. Archaeological reputations have been made
and lost as a result of the analysis of pottery, but few have noted what the
presence of the humble pot meant to the inventors and users. It meant that teeth were no longer necessary
at all. Of course, we dearly enjoy the
process of chewing the culinary delights that we savor, and we tend to think
that the toothless are less attractive than those who are dentally
well-endowed, but as soon as pots became available it was possible to reduce
nourishment to drinkable consistency.
From that point on, the edentulous could survive as well as anybody else. Since selection for the maintenance of tooth
size all but ceased at that point, one would predict that recent human tooth
size reduction should have accelerated to its maximum. From the evidence available from the several
places in the world where pottery had more-or-less independent beginnings, this
indeed appears to be the case.
various reasons, that post-Pleistocene change has been entirely overlooked in
the anthropological world, and we still hear that somewhat self-satisfied
statement that once "modern man" had emerged, maybe 35,000 years ago,
all biological evolution ceased and the only subsequent changes were in the
cultural realm (R. Leakey in Fisher 1983:145; Diamond 1990:26; Klein
1992:12). A quick perusal of the actual
evidence, however, shows that this is simply not so. Not only have jaws and teeth undergone a change of up to 20%
since that time, but there has been an equally clear-cut reduction in the
indications for muscularity and robustness in the post-cranial skeleton as
well. Cultural change certainly has
been important. In fact, it was the
reduction in environmentally imposed selective forces created by those very
cultural developments that led to the changes visible in the human physique.
other genetically controlled aspects of human variation are mapped, they also
tend to show unrelated distributions that are as independent of each other as
those shown in Figures 2, 3, and 4. For
example, when aspects of the common variance in the expression of some 95 genes
are plotted on a world map in terms of principal component loadings, the
distributions of the first three components are completely independent of each
other (Cavalli-Sforza et al. 1993). One
such map will show the greatest intensity of loadings in Africa with decreasing
effects strictly proportional to distance.
The authors have chosen to regard this as indications of an actual
migration out of Africa at an unknown date in the past with modern differences
being proportional to the time of separation.
Another such map plotting the next independent residuum of common
variance shows the greatest intensity of loadings in South America with
decreases proportional to distance from that spot. Again, this distribution is presumed to illustrate the results of
migration. The same is assumed to be
true for plots of the remaining independent residuals of common variance.
problem with trying to invoke migration as the explanation for such gradients
in the manifestations of genetic likeness is that, while it might work to
explain an initial distribution, the traces of that pattern would be completely
altered by just one later migration from a separate center. The independent and non-coincident patterns
of genetic distributions can only be the results of the operations of unrelated
selective force gradients and the further complications added by genetic
drift. At the moment, it is impossible
to say how much of which has contributed to the picture of independent regional
manifestations of genetic difference shown by the separate principal component
maps. The only thing we can say for
certain is that migrations cannot possibly be invoked to explain the
distributions observed, and that the pattern is completely compatible with what
would be expected if separate and unrelated selective force gradients were
all the traits that have played a role in ensuring the survival and success of Homo sapiens as a species, innate brain
power clearly must be accorded a position of prime importance. Just as the order Primates as a whole is
distinguished from the rest of the animal kingdom by a greater average degree
of intelligence and a corresponding expansion of the organ from which that
emanates — the brain — so humans transcend their Primate relatives in this regard
by yet another order of magnitude (Donald 1991:98- 100). The human brain underwent a near threefold
expansion from the essentially chimpanzee-sized brain of our Australopithecine
ancestors 1.5 to 2.0 million years ago.
It stands to reason, then, that this illustrates the results of the
continuing effects of strong forces selecting for the increase in
intelligence. One might also think it
logical that intelligence in the human world would be distributed in a manner
analogous to that of other traits under strong selective force control, i.e. not in terms of population
boundaries but according to the pattern of distribution of the relevant
selective force. As we shall see, this
is probably not the case. There are
unexpectedly difficult problems involved in assessing both the selective forces
involved and the nature of the distribution of intelligence.
"intelligence" is another of those words like "race" that
people use with glib facility but which proves to be extremely hard to define. I am not going to offer my own definition
because it would be just another in a list that is as long as the number of
people involved in comparing themselves to others. At bottom, "intelligence" is a completely subjective
category. It has no clearly identifiable
reality like a pigment or a hemoglobin molecule, and it has no tangible
measurable form like a tooth. Its
existence as a category at all is an example of the creative capacity inherent
in one of the most powerful tools at human disposal —.language. The words we use are analogues of a real
world that is vastly more graded and complicated than our verbal
rendition. Of course we gain much of
our power to deal with the infinite complexities of that graded reality by
reducing it to a finite and manageable linguistic analogue. However, the danger always exists that our
linguistic simplifications may just create categories where none really
exist. "Race" clearly is an
example of just that.
"Intelligence" comes close to being another.
of the problems stems from the essentially subjective way in which we perceive
the phenomenon. Virtually all living
human beings compare themselves to the people with whom they interact on what
they perceive as a scale of relative cleverness. We all are perfectly convinced that we can assess relative
intellectual ability, and each of us uses our own capacities as the basic
yardstick. Consequently there are as
many standards as there are individuals involved in the debate. Nor have the professional scholars involved
in the assessment of intelligence provided much assistance. Possibly the most opaque and unhelpful
non-description ever offered was the one coined by the distinguished
psychologist, Edwin G. Boring:
"Intelligence is what the tests test" (Boring 1923:35). That simply expands the possible scales of
measurement beyond the number of individuals doing the evaluating by the amount
of tests that professional ingenuity can concoct.
has long been realized that the increase in brain size during the evolution of
the mammals was certainly related to an increase in intelligence (Radinsky
1967, 1979). In parallel fashion, the
increase in human brain size from the Pliocene through the Middle Pleistocene
was also evidence of the increase in intelligence (Van Valen 1974). Relative brain size between living species
also is associated with degrees of intelligence (Brace and Brace 1976). With this as a general background, there has
been a repeated attempt to associate differences in brain size between the
living human populations with differences in their intellectual abilities.
the American Civil War, the claim was made that the institution of slavery was
justifiable on the basis of supposed differences in brain size and intelligence
between African-Americans and European Americans (Nott 1849:35-36, 1858:77;
Nott and Gliddon 1854). There are still
psychologists who maintain that "among humans, crude brain size does have
some relation to intelligence" (Rushton 1984:12), and that the best way to
determine a persons intelligence is to "take a tape measure, put it around
people's heads, (and) measure the head circumference" (Rushton 1989).
thing that is left out of these attempts to assess the relative brain power of
living members of the same species is any correction for body size. From my own measurements of the crania of
samples representing all of the major living populations of the world, I can
show that the average difference between the largest and smallest heads is not
significantly different from the average difference between male and female
brain case size. In the latter instance
in any given population, the male/female size difference is entirely in
proportion to the difference in body size.
is going to argue that larger head size within a single species such as Homo sapiens
really indicates greater intellectual power, then one will also have to support
the proposition that, on the average, men are smarter than women. There is absolutely nothing to sustain such
a conclusion, and the suspicion arises that those who are continuing to pursue
research relating to the average "racial" differences in brain size
are simply engaging in an exercise in applied bigotry.
scholars in the intelligence-evaluation business have devoted much effort and
ingenuity to the process of making intelligence tests "culture-free"
or "fair" in a variety of ways, and one such has written a ponderous
tome filled with numbers and formulae called Bias
in Mental Testing (Jensen 1980).
The basic assumption behind that work is that bias can be eliminated by
proper procedural means. Beyond the
subjectivity inherent in the assessment of individuals, however, there is the
added problem associated with evaluations projected upon whole groups.. Professionals involved in the testing of
intelligence simply accept the biological reality of "race" in the
first place and go on to presume that it is reasonable that "racial"
differences in intelligence are simply there to be discovered (Jensen 1969a:80,
1969b:14; Neary 1970:62). This is
nothing less than bias itself, and no amount of statistical manipulation can
eliminate it. Although it is presented
with all the trappings of serious scientific scholarship, it is just a
gussied-up version of the universal ethnocentric assumption held by every
living human society that “we” are better than “they.”
equally simplistic fashion, the further assumption has been gratuitously added
that intelligence is the ability to adapt to "civilization," and that
"races" differ in intellectual ability in conjunction with the
civilizations with which they are associated.
This was one of the undocumented items of faith at the core of the
Eugenics movement early in the century (Popenoe and Johnson 1918:285, 292), and
it was shared with equally unjustified enthusiasm by the contemporary
supporters of geographic determinism (Huntington 1915, 1924:1). One recent advocate of such a view feels
that the Stanford-Binet I.Q. test measures the inherent ability to adapt to
"Western civilization" (Jensen 1969b:14).
could better illustrate the dangers of making judgments about the relative
worth of whole populations in the absence of the basic facts than potentially
harmful and certainly irresponsible claims such as that. As we have seen above, even a relatively
simple and clearly adaptive trait such as skin color shows only minimal
response to alterations in selective force intensity that have been in effect
for no more than 10,000 to 15,000 years.
Our vaunted "Western civilization" has a time depth of only a
small fraction of that span, and most of those who now reap its benefits are
descended from ancestors who, only a few centuries back, were peasant farmers
untrained in the niceties of reading and writing.
more to the point, there is not a single society in the world today that
pursues a way of life like that of its ancestors 10,000 years ago. Even the few groups who lived by hunting and
gathering until quite recently have all acquired steel tips for their spears
and arrows, steel knives and axes, plastic containers, synthetic fiber cordage
and firearms. Given the pace at which
selection works on something as elusively complex as intelligence, a much more
plausible case could be made for the view that virtually no living population
is mentally adapted to the society with which it is now associated.
turn things around and look at them from the perspective of the conditions
under which our mental capacities actually were shaped. Ten-thousand years ago, agriculture had yet
to be invented. There were no sedentary
farming communities, and subsistence was gained by foraging for what could be
acquired by hunting and gathering activities.
From that point on back for the previous million to 1.5 million years,
hunting and gathering was the common heritage shared by all human beings. Surely it was that long-term situation which
played the major controlling role in shaping human intellectual capabilities..
course, objections have been raised that the environment and the availability
of specific resources was radically different in the disparate parts of the
world. The geographic determinists of
two or three generations ago were fond of contrasting the supposedly indolent
life in the tropics where goodies were available for the plucking from a
plethora of fruiting trees and bushes with what was purported to be the bracing
rigor of more northerly climes where survival was said to depend more on
ingenuity and disciplined effort.
from the lesser chance of freezing to death, however, there is virtually no
evidence to suggest that it is any easier to gain a living by gleaning from the
land in the tropics than it is in the temperate portions of the world. The knowledge of what is edible and what is
not, what ripens where at which time of the year, and the detailed habits of
potential prey animals is every bit as difficult to come by at the equator as
in the north. Wherever professional
scientists have had extensive contacts with local populations who live off the
land — whether it be Eskimos in the arctic, Australian aborigines in the
"outback," or the inhabitants of the New Guinea highlands barely south
of the equator — they have come away with the realization that the people they
have gotten to know all understand their local natural history with a
sophistication and detail that is fully the equivalent of what would be
required of a doctoral candidate defending a Ph.D. dissertation on aspects of
the area in question. In the
pre-literate world of the hunter-gatherer, evidently the penalty for stupidity
can illustrate this point more graphically than the saga of the elderly Australian
who led his group on a six-month trek to escape the consequences of the drought
of 1943 in the outback of Western Australia.
His first goal was the fallback waterhole at the extreme northwestern
corner of the tribal territory which he had visited only once in his youth more
than half a century earlier. When the
resources there started to fail, he led them off westwards again through
territory known to him only through the verses of a song cycle sung at totemic
ceremonies and depicting the legendary wanderings of "ancestral
beings." The trek led on through a
sequence of more than 50 waterholes until the little band finally emerged at
Mandora Station on the coast of Western Australia more than 600 kilometers from
where they had started (Birdsell 1979:147-148). If he had been wrong just once in his sequence, that would have
been it for the whole group. Evidently
the "myths" that constituted those tribal ceremonies actually
represented the transmitted knowledge of previous generations, and, as the story
shows, this could literally be of life or death significance. One would be hard put to come up with any
instance in the literate world where survival was so directly dependent upon
such a feat of human memory.
In their reliance on a major hunting element
in their subsistence activities, ancestral humans depended on a most
un-Primate-like kind of behavior. Even
for those other Primates that occasionally catch and eat animal prey, there are
none in which this kind of behavior is essential to their very survival. Prehistoric human beings, on the other hand,
clearly relied on the products of the chase for their survival. And yet our basic anatomy gives almost no
hint of a capacity for successful hunting activities. There is not a trace of specialization towards effective capture
and disabling of prey to be found in the shape and the size of our teeth, and
human locomotor capabilities are such that we cannot outrun anything larger
than a rabbit.
human beings exploit a spectrum of plant foods that is orders of magnitude
beyond the list relied on by even our cleverest non-human relatives. A fair portion of these would be of no value
unless subjected to extensive preparation prior to ingestion. Human beings are the only creatures that
cook their food, but, beyond that, no other animal has made more than the most
rudimentary start at the ingenious roster of peeling, shelling, pounding,
grating, grinding, soaking, leaching and the many other techniques that people
have used to render some of the most unlikely items capable of yielding
it is these accomplishments and the capabilities that made them possible that
are behind the successful spread of humans into such an extraordinary variety
of locales. The ingenuity necessary to extract
sustenance in the most unlikely areas and by the most unlikely means was an
essential element in the human success story.
That ingenuity was certainly taxed by the need to maintain a network of
supportive relationships and deal with potential human competitors. It had to have been a combination of these
factors that constituted the selective pressures that led to the expansion of
the human brain starting at the beginning of the Pleistocene two-million years
circumstances, however, were a constant for human beings pursuing a hunting and
gathering mode of subsistence at any time during the Pleistocene and throughout
the length and breadth of their occupation.
With the nature of selection for intellectual development held constant,
the response should have been a constant also.
Under such circumstances, there should have been no differential
response. This is why human
intelligence, although an adaptive trait of utmost importance, should not be
expected to have a clinal distribution.
If there is one faint exception to the expectation that there should be
no significant difference between the intellectual capabilities of any of the
human populations living in the world today, it would be of a most unexpected
nature. It is a common prejudice of
representatives of groups with long and sophisticated written traditions to
regard their non-literate contemporaries with a kind of self-satisfied
contempt. The denigrations run from
regarding such people as "barbarians" or "benighted
savages" to evaluations that barely consider them human. Almost invariably, their manifestations of
what is considered to be cultural inferiority are assumed to be innate, and
they are consigned to a state of genetically determined intellectual
the other hand, as the previously mentioned Australian saga abundantly
demonstrated, it surely requires more basic smarts to survive in a world where
one cannot go and look up the answers to crucial questions in a book. For those of us who can consult reference
works in a library, it is just less important that we keep that information
stored in our heads. It is just
possible, then, that those whose ancestry has the longest continuous tie with
literate civilization are the recipients of a heritage where selection for
intelligence has been least stringent.
Now recall that the rationale of the Probable Mutation Effect suggests
that where the strength of selection maintaining a given trait is relaxed,
there should be a consequent reduction in that trait itself. If indeed there is any difference in
intelligence among the living populations of the world, then the greatest
innate wit should be found among those who have most recently emerged from a
representatives of a tradition of continuous literacy, however, have been able
to enjoy its benefits for much more than 5,000 years at the most. As we have been able to see, tooth size may
have changed as much as 5% during that time, but that figure is so close to
measurement error that we cannot take it as proof of real biological
difference. And no discernible skin
color difference has arisen during that time even though some populations have
moved into areas where selection operating over much longer periods of time has
produced highly visible consequences.
Therefore, even though the PME suggests that there might be a slight
difference in intellectual capability between living human groups in the
opposite direction from that so commonly assumed, the problems associated with
assessing the amount of innate intelligence both within and between human
populations are so sticky that it is unlikely that we shall ever be able to put
possibility to the test. At the moment, we have no reason to suspect
that there are any group-specific differences in intelligence, and we have no
way to test for them even if we did.
are other traits that are distributed according to the graded effects of the
selective forces that influence their appearance. The relative length of the lower arm and leg in proportion to the
upper arm and leg, and limb length in proportion to trunk length are related to
conditions of heat and cold. Average
length and elevation of the nose on its part is related to the relative lack of
moisture in the air. With the sole
exception of intelligence which is equally important everywhere and
consequently everywhere the same, it would seem that every trait that is really
important for human survival is distributed in conjunction with the intensity
of the controlling selective force, and that these on their part are
distributed completely without regard for human population boundaries.
this it follows that the traits which are distributed across population
boundaries as though they did not exist are the only ones that have real
biological significance, while those that are constrained by population
boundaries have no differential survival value. Although the more orthodox of R. A. Fisher's followers still feel
that we are obliged to assume that every biological trait is determined by a
controlling selective force even if we cannot figure out what that might be,
others are increasingly coming to the realization that there are many
configurations that have no particular adaptive value in and of themselves. Those who have claimed that the failure to
find adaptive meaning in certain traits is simply due to limitations in our
powers of understanding have been called "hyperselectionists" and
compared to "foolish Dr. Pangloss" of Voltaire's 18th century satire,
(Gould and Lewontin 1979; Gould 1980:40).
In Dr. Pangloss' philosophy, "all is for the best in this the best
of all possible worlds," even if it is beyond our capacity to understand
what might be good about it.
disaster after disaster befell the unfortunate Candide, it became quite
apparent that there was not always some unappreciated "good" behind
the events of the world. In like fashion,
it is evident that many biological configurations are that way just because of
chance circumstances and not because of any unappreciated benefit conferred on
their possessors. This realization had
been reinforced by the discovery that there are substantial sequences of DNA in
the genome that are just there and serve no functional purpose — "junk
DNA" in the words of one geneticist (Ohno 1972).
the absence of selective force control, certain variants may increase or
decrease in frequency in various regions simply by chance. The process referred to by Sewall Wright as
"genetic drift" can produce local differences in inherited features
particularly where the populations are relatively small and partially isolated
from their neighbors -circumstances that were generally the rule for the human
condition prior to the advent of agriculture (Wright 1943). The significant expansion in numbers by
those groups that adopted a farming mode of subsistence subsequently
established certain of those chance local variants as the characteristic
regional morphological conformation in the various areas where agriculture had
led to that notable expansion in population size. The ensuing perpetuation of identifiable regional configurations
then occurred for the simple reason that the pattern was already present — not
because it conveyed any particular adaptive advantage.
can identify many such aspects of morphology associated with the configuration
of the heads and faces of people in various parts of the world. Some of these coexist with features that are
legitimately under selective force control, and we have to make an effort to
separate the two categories. For
example, nasal form in the long-term inhabitants of the colder portions of the
world runs to the high-bridged and elongate.
The Native Americans in the northernmost portions of the New World were
famous for having noses that were just as prominent as those of northern
Europeans. However, in the other
details of the face — for instance, the jut of the cheekbones and the relative
forward placement of the lateral borders of the eye sockets — they were quite
distinct from characteristic European form although they could not be
differentiated from the positioning of cheekbones and lateral orbital margins
of the living people of northeast Asia.
form is adaptive and responds to the forces of selection, but there is nothing
particularly adaptive about nuances of cheekbone form or shape of the eye
socket. What possible advantage could
it be to have high rounded eye sockets as opposed to low wide rectangular ones?
(Brace and Hunt 1990:344). And why
would it be better to have cheekbones that are hollowed out below the lower
margin of the orbit as opposed to ones that drop straight down to present the
appearance of a relatively flat face?
Differences in the details of facial form of this nature are clearly
associated with different regions of the world, but it is hard to see the
faintest reason why any one should be any "better" than any
other. And yet each region shows a
continuity running from the present back into the past to the point where
general morphology ceases to look "modern." In fact, some of those very aspects of cheekbone and eye socket
morphology that show different configurations in different regions of the world
today were also characteristic of facial form for the archaic inhabitants of
the same parts of the world going back into the Middle Pleistocene.
same sort of thing is true for the form of the rest of the skull. For example, the characteristic general
cranial shape at the northwest edge of Europe is long and low with a tendency
towards the presence of a marked bulge or "bun" at the rear, while
the characteristic form in eastern Europe is towards a skull that is short, wide
and almost flat behind (Brace l991a).
But, again, there is absolutely no reason why one such shape is
"better" than another, and, despite undocumented claims to the
contrary (Cavalli-Sforza et al. 1993:641), no possible set of selective forces
can be imagined that would have led to the special development of either
one. It really does not matter what
shape the brain case takes so long as it is large enough to encompass the
brain. At best, we are left to assume
that the different local patterns were simply the products of genetic drift
(Lynch 1989:13). Once established,
these are perpetuated because that is what the local gene pool has to
contribute to subsequent generations.
is true for so many aspects of the bones of the head is also the case for many
of the details of its fleshy covering.
The external shape of the eye opening differs from one human population
to another. For example, it is widely
recognized that people of eastern Asian ancestry are likely to display a
particular and recognizable configuration.
However, there is no evidence that it has any effect whatsoever on the
ability to see. At one time, it was
suggested that the people of eastern Asia had been shaped by prolonged exposure
to intense cold during the last glaciation, and that this led to the
developments of eyelid form that played a protective role (Coon et al.
1950:71). However, the ancestors of
Europeans survived the effects of the last two glaciations without ever
developing the eyelid form characteristic of modern eastern Asians, and there
is no indication that the characteristic form of the European eye opening puts
them at any disadvantage even when subject to prolonged exposure to conditions
of intense cold. The form of the
external ear also differs in characteristic fashion from region to region. But again, there is virtually no evidence to
suggest that there is an associated difference in the ability to hear or that
selection is involved. And the same
thing can be said for the fleshy portions of the lips and nose.
is by an appraisal of features such as these that we can recognize the portion
of the world to which the ancestors of a given person are likely to have
belonged. When we take a standard set
of measurements on representatives of people from all parts of the world, the
different samples will show patterns of regional association. All the samples from a given region will
cluster with each other as opposed to samples from another region unless, of
course, a given sample actually is composed of migrants from somewhere
else. When that is the case, the
migrant sample will cluster with samples from the region from which it
an effort to create a picture of clusters for all of the major regions of the
world, I have made measurements on crania from as many samples as I could get
access to over the last dozen years.
These were then converted into standard scores as Howells recommended
(Howells 1986). Sample means were compared
by an unweighted pair grouping method analysis (UPGMA) and used to create a
Euclidean Distance dendrogram (Romesburg 1984:15; Brace and Hunt
1990:347). This is the same procedure
that was used to generate the pattern shown in Figure 1.
samples from all over the world were treated in this fashion, the picture that
emerged is that seen in Figure 5. At
that, it is greatly simplified from the much larger cluster diagram that was
generated when I used more than twice as many groups as are depicted in Figure
5. Even so, it is obvious that the
samples from each region tend to cluster with each other. When the various samples from each region
were merged with their nearest neighbors so that only a single pooled group was
left and a Euclidean Distance dendrogram was produced, what emerged was the
picture seen in Figure 6 In this, the
individual twigs stand for the regional clusters from which they were formed
and can be called by the name of the region with which it is associated.
we can refer to an African Cluster, an East Asian Cluster, a European Cluster
and so forth. It would be a mistake to
say that this is just another name for "race," since nothing held in
common by the members of any cluster allows us to say anything about the
adaptations of its components. The only
thing that ties members of a given cluster together is the common inheritance
of traits of no adaptive value whatsoever.
A cluster by its very nature cannot be assessed in terms of ability,
intelligence, resistance to disease or anything else that could be placed on a
hierarchy of value since the only thing that holds a cluster together in an
analytical sense is the complete triviality of the traits by which it is
is there any significance to the mean figures calculated by generating the
central tendencies of the clusters as is done to construct Figure 6. It is important to note that those
"central tendencies" do not reflect any kind of "essence"
or aspect of common variance. The
farther away from the center of a geographic region one goes, the less the
peripheral members of that cluster share with the others in an opposite
direction and the more they share with members of the immediately adjacent
geographic region. Major regional
cluster names, then, are simply convenient labels for describing people who
differ in utterly unimportant ways. The
convenience offered by geographic names is that there is no possible loading
with the hint of the often covert implications included when descriptive or
ethnic labels are used. Finally,
geographic names can be easily amended by directional modifiers. Asia can be sharpened by specifying Central
Asia, Western Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and the like. The same is also true for the other major
clusters such as Africa, Amerind, Australia, Europe, Pacific-Ainu and
Homo sapiens is concerned, the
concept of "race" does not correspond to any biological entity. Not only does it have at least as many flaws
as the concept of subspecies (Wilson and Brown 1953; Brown and Wilson 1954),
but it also has been invoked as a platform for the purpose of sustaining
invidious value judgments that stem largely from unwarranted prejudice. Its existence arises entirely from the human
tendency to categorize when dealing with what is perceived to be the nature of
the world. In this case, the category
"race" is a misperception of the reality of human biological
variation exists, and it is real and significant. However, those aspects that have arisen in response to the
effects of natural selection cannot be perceived or understood if we take
popularly assumed "races" as our starting points. Only by tracing the distribution of each
trait separately can we discern its association with the relevant selective
force. Since selective forces
themselves have distributions that are unrelated to human population
boundaries, traits that are under selective force control, and hence that are
biologically significant, will also be distributed without relation to those
human population boundaries. More than
one modern anthropologist has clearly perceived these matters and treated them
with admirable sophistication (Bermann 1992; Sauer 1992).
traits are constrained by human population boundaries, the dynamics by which they
are controlled are entirely the result of inheritance and local breeding
behavior. The manifestation and
distribution of such traits is unrelated to the forces of natural selection and
therefore will have no adaptive value.
As a consequence, they cannot be ranked as "better" or
"worse" when populations are compared with each other. At most, they can be seen as
"different" and as illustrating what has been perpetuated by chance
in the different areas of human habitation.
configurations observed in the clusters of samples from given parts of the
world cannot be labeled by using aspects of variation that are under selective
force control. Designations such as
"Negroid," for example, fail to specify people from a given
circumscribed area. Ethnic designations
are no better. "Mongoloid,"
for instance, is a word derived from the Mongols who are both geographically
and morphologically peripheral to the other populations with whom they are
tied. "Caucasoid" refers to
the people living in the locale where, according to the Biblical narrative,
Noah's Ark disgorged its contents after the retreat of the Scriptural flood,
and its use in a broader context implies acceptance of a whole series of
assumptions that have no scientific basis.
only really useful means of referring to the various regional configurations
visible in the world is by using broad geographical terms to designate the
appropriate inhabitants. The people of
Europe are properly referred to as Europeans, the people of Africa are Africans,
the people of Australia are Australians, and so forth. This can be narrowed down by referring to
people as South Asians, Northwest Europeans, Southwest Australians and the
like. That way no "ethnic" or
behavioral attributes are indicated, and no confusion or hidden implications
can result from the labels given.
if indeed that all-important but hopelessly undefinable phenomenon,
"intelligence," has the adaptive significance for human survival that
we have reason to assume it does, then it has to be apportioned according to
the distribution of its controlling selective force. Further, if the latter is distributed in a manner analogous to
that of other forces affecting human survival, it is clear that we have no
right to base our expectations concerning intellectual capability on a
distribution that is limited by the boundaries marking the area of extent of
any given population. Beyond that, no
human population now lives under anything like the kind of circumstances that
shaped human capabilities through that million-years-plus stretch of the
Pleistocene during which they were established.
until 10,000 years ago or less, all humans everywhere were pursuing the same
kind of subsistence strategy, whatever the latitude. This meant that the selective pressures influencing intellectual
development at any given time were identical for all living humans over a span
of more than a million years. Only
within the last 10,000 years have things changed to the extent that it requires
substantially more — or less — intelligence to make a go of it in some parts of
the world as opposed to others. That
relatively short post-Pleistocene stretch is not enough to produce a measurable
difference between the intellectual capacities of the various surviving
populations of the world.
all of this, we have no right to expect that there is any innate difference of
intelligence between the various regional clusters and configurations of modern
human beings. The only possible reason
behind efforts to test for differences in "racial" intelligence is an
assumption — whether covert or overt — that some groups are brighter and
therefore better than others and that one's own group can be shown to be the brightest
and best. Since the configurations
present in regional clusters are nothing more than 'family resemblance writ
large' and have no other biological meanings, any attempt to assess
"racial" difference in any aspect at all with the expectation of
finding something of significance beyond an otiose catalogue of trivia can only
be based on invidious expectations that themselves can have no scientific
at best is just another four-letter word, empty of any biological
significance. Biological differences do
exist among modern humans, and an investigation of these differences is
interesting and valuable. But this can
only be accomplished by abandoning the "race" concept and tracing the
traits to be studied according to their own distributions as they reflect the
selective forces that have influenced the variation observed. Insofar as the assumption remains that
regionally circumscribed peoples possess an essential nature defined by
associated abilities, this is just a continuing manifestation of the use of the
concept of "race" in the absence of the use of the name. The continuation of such an outlook can only
result in scientific futility and social harm. As a concept without redeeming
social or scientific value, "race" indeed deserves to be ranked with
the roster of those four-letter words that merits the designation
obscenity. It is too much to expect
that what I say here will have much influence on the public at large, but at
least I hope that it will be read and understood by the anthropological
community and that they will respond by consigning the term and the concept to
the oblivion that it deserves.
Kipling, known as a jingoistic apologist for the British Empire, also had
another side that reflected a deeper understanding of and sympathy for the
essential humanity of the various manifestations of the "other" with
which he had come in contact. Some of
this is expressed in the conclusion of the verse that stands at the head of my Introduction, and it can serve as a
fitting note on which to conclude:
But if you live over the sea,
of over the way,
You may end by (think of it!) looking on We
only a sort of They!
manuscript is condensed from parts of a book in preparation entitled Race is a Four-Letter Word. Like
the present paper, that book, when completed, is dedicated to Ashley Montagu,
not only in honor of the splendid example he has set for us in an extraordinary
lifetime of accomplishments motivated by the highest and most admirable of ideals,
but also for the kindness and support that he has shown to me personally. I also wish to express my gratitude to
Professors Larry J. Reynolds and Leonard Lieberman for giving me the
opportunity of being part of this tribute to Ashley Montagu. The world is a better place because of him,
and he continues to be an inspiration to us all.
Euclidean Distance dendrogram or cluster diagram demonstrating the atypical
status of Mongols when compared with representative samples of the other inhabitants
of East Asia. The values for the
measurements were converted into C scores and compared by Unweighted Matched
Pair Group Analysis (IJMPGA). The
procedure was pioneered by Howells (1986) and is described in greater detail in
Brace and Hunt (1990).
distribution of hemoglobin S according to its different frequencies in the
populations of the Old World. Adapted
from Bodmer and Cavalli-Sforza (1976:310). The various shadings represent the
different indicated gene frequencies for hemoglobin S.
distribution of the variation in intensity of human skin color in the Old
World. Adapted from Biasutti
(1959:I:Table IV [pp.192-193]) by Brace and Montagu (1977:392), revised from
distribution of human tooth size among the populations of the Old World. A sampling of those data is reported in
Brace et al. (1991).
cluster diagram showing the relationships of samplings from the major regions
of the world. The measurements used,
and the samples are reported in Brace and Hunt (1990) and Brace and Tracer
(1992). Variable transformation
procedures were those used in Li et al.
(1991) and Brace and Tracer (1992), while the cluster algorithm is the same as
that used to generate Figure 1.
cluster diagram constructed by merging samples of each region to generate
separate branches representing the cluster associated with each of the major
geographic regions of the world. The
procedure is the same as that used to generate Figures 1 and 5. The Mongols were left in, not because they
represent a "major geographic region," but simply to reinforce the
point that they cannot be used to typify the inhabitants of eastern Asia.
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