Teutonic and Celtic ancestry in the population of England (see Beddoe, “Stature and Bulk of Man in the British Isles,” in Mem. Anthrop. Soc. London, vol. iii.) Proportions of the limbs, compared in length with the trunk, have been claimed as constituting peculiarities of African and American races; and other anatomical points, such as the conformation of the pelvis, have speciality. But inferences of this class have hardly attained to sufficient certainty and generality to be set down in the form of rules. The conformation of the skull is second only to the colour of the skin as a criterion for the distinction of race; and the position of the jaws is recognized as important, races being described as prognathous when the jaws project far, as in the Australian or Negro, in contradistinction to the orthognathous type, which is that of the ordinary well-shaped European skull. On this distinction in great measure depends the celebrated “facial angle,” measured by Camper as a test of low and high races; but this angle is objectionable as resulting partly from the development of the forehead and partly from the position of the jaws. The capacity of the cranium is estimated in cubic measure by filling it with sand, &c., with the general result that the civilized white man is found to have a larger brain than the barbarian or savage. Classification of races on cranial measurements has long been attempted by eminent anatomists, and in certain cases great reliance may be placed on such measurements. Thus the skulls of an Australian and a Negro would be generally distinguished by their narrowness and the projection of the jaw from that of any Englishman; but the Australian skull would usually differ perceptibly from the Negroid in its upright sides and strong orbital ridges. The relation of height to breadth may also furnish a valuable test; but it is acknowledged by all experienced craniologists, that the shape of the skull may vary so much within the same tribe, and even the same family, that it must be used with extreme caution, and if possible only in conjunction with other criteria of race. The general contour of the face, in part dependent on the form of the skull, varies much in different races, among whom it is loosely defined as oval, lozenge-shaped, pentagonal, &c. Of particular features, some of the most marked contrasts to European types are seen in the oblique Chinese eyes, the broad-set Kamchadale cheeks, the pointed Arab chin, the snub Kirghiz nose, the fleshy protuberant Negro lips, and the broad Kalmuck ear. Taken altogether, the features have a typical character which popular observation seizes with some degree of correctness, as in the recognition of the Jewish countenance in a European city.
Were the race-characters constant in degree or even in kind, the classification of races would be easy; but this is not so. Every division of mankind presents in every character wide deviations from a standard. Thus the Negro race, well marked as it may seem at the first glance, proves on closer examination to include several shades of complexion and features, in some districts varying far from the accepted Negro type; while the examination of a series of native American tribes shows that, notwithstanding their asserted uniformity of type, they differ in stature, colour, features and proportions of skull. (See Prichard, Nat. Hist. of Man; Waitz, Anthropology, part i. sec. 5.) Detailed anthropological research, indeed, more and more justifies Blumenbach’s words, that “innumerable varieties of mankind run into one another by insensible degrees.” This state of things, due partly to mixture and crossing of races, and partly to independent variation of types, makes the attempt to arrange the whole human species within exactly bounded divisions an apparently hopeless task. It does not follow, however, that the attempt to distinguish special races should be given up, for there at least exist several definable types, each of which so far prevails in a certain population as to be taken as its standard. L. A. J. Quetelet’s plan of defining such types will probably meet with general acceptance as the scientific method proper to this branch of anthropology. It consists in the determination of the standard or typical “mean man” (homme moyen) of a population, with reference to any particular quality, such as stature, weight, complexion, &c. In the case of stature, this would be done by measuring a sufficient number of men, and counting how many of them belong to each height on the scale. If it be thus ascertained, as it might be in an English district, that the 5 ft. 7 in. men form the most numerous group, while the 5 ft. 6 in. and 5 ft. 8 in. men are less in number, and the 5 ft. 5 in. and 5 ft. 9 in. still fewer, and so on until the extremely small number of extremely short or tall individuals of 5 ft. or 7 ft. is reached, it will thus be ascertained that the stature of the mean or typical man is to be taken as 5 ft. 7 in. The method is thus that of selecting as the standard the most numerous group, on both sides of which the groups decrease in number as they vary in type. Such classification may show the existence of two or more types, in a community, as, for instance, the population of a Californian settlement made up of Whites and Chinese might show two predominant groups (one of 5 ft. 8 in., the other of 5 ft. 4 in.) corresponding to these two racial types. It need hardly be said that this method of determining the mean type of a race, as being that of its really existing and most numerous class, is altogether superior to the mere calculation of an average, which may actually be represented by comparatively few individuals, and those the exceptional ones. For instance, the average stature of the mixed European and Chinese population just referred to might be 5 ft. 6 in.—a worthless and indeed misleading result. (For particulars of Quetelet’s method, see his Physique sociale (1869), and Anthropométrie (1871).)
Classifications of man have been numerous, and though, regarded as systems, most of them are unsatisfactory, yet they have been of great value in systematizing knowledge, and are all more or less based on indisputable distinctions. J. F. Blumenbach’s division, though published as long ago as 1781, has had the greatest influence. He reckons five races, viz. Caucasian, Mongolian, Ethiopian, American, Malay. The ill-chosen name of Caucasian, invented by Blumenbach in allusion to a South Caucasian skull of specially typical proportions, and applied by him to the so-called white races, is still current; it brings into one race peoples such as the Arabs and Swedes, although these are scarcely less different than the Americans and Malays, who are set down as two distinct races. Again, two of the best-marked varieties of mankind are the Australians and the Bushmen, neither of whom, however, seems to have a natural place in Blumenbach’s series. The yet simpler classification by Cuvier into Caucasian, Mongol and Negro corresponds in some measure with a division by mere complexion into white, yellow and black races; but neither this threefold division, nor the ancient classification into Semitic, Hamitic and Japhetic nations can be regarded as separating the human types either justly or sufficiently (see Prichard, Natural History of Man, sec. 15; Waitz, Anthropology, vol. i. part i. sec. 5). Schemes which set up a larger number of distinct races, such as the eleven of Pickering, the fifteen of Bory de St Vincent and the sixteen of Desmoulins, have the advantage of finding niches for most well-defined human varieties; but no modern naturalist would be likely to adopt any one of these as it stands. In criticism of Pickering’s system, it is sufficient to point out that he divides the white nations into two races, entitled the Arab and the Abyssinian (Pickering, Races of Man, ch. i.). Agassiz, Nott, Crawfurd and others who have assumed a much larger number of races or species of man, are not considered to have satisfactorily defined a corresponding number of distinguishable types. On the whole, Huxley’s division probably approaches more nearly than any other to such a tentative classification as may be accepted in definition of the principal varieties of mankind, regarded from a zoological point of view, though anthropologists may be disposed to erect into separate races several of his widely-differing sub-races. He distinguishes four principal types of mankind, the Australioid, Negroid, Mongoloid and Xanthochroic (“fair whites”), adding a fifth variety, the Melanochroic (“dark whites”).
In determining whether the races of mankind are to be classed as varieties of one species, it is important to decide whether every two races can unite to produce fertile offspring. It is settled by experience that the most numerous and well-known crossed races, such as the Mulattos, descended from Europeans