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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/736

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

distinctions, on which ethnographic classifications have for some time been assumed, are likewise very fallacious. People have been capable of changing their vocabulary and their grammar, and even of discarding their whole language and adopting another of different spirit. The groups of the human race are, as a whole, the product of historical changes in the different phases of their existence, and the influence of the surroundings in which they have developed themselves. Professor Halévy supports M. Rosny's theory, and believes that nations may change their language, their disposition, and their moral character, according to the surroundings among which they live, and according to their institutions. Africans, for example, show a change from the moment they become Mohammedans. The word "race" should no longer be used in ethnology. "When I was in Abyssinia," he says, "during the war between England and King Theodore, it was quite impossible to distinguish a Hindoo in the British service, when he was stripped, from a native Abyssinian. Even Theophrastus was aware of the striking similarity, and classed the Indians and Abyssinians together as Ethiopians."

 

The Check in the Growth of France.—The attention of French economists has been drawn for several years to the fact that the population of their country is not increasing, but shows rather a tendency, in many parts of the country, to diminish. The tendency is steadily manifested, in several departments, to a greater degree than in others, and has been maintained with considerable uniformity in those departments where it is most marked. The departments in which the decrease is most observable are the group in Languedoc and the group in Normandy. Of the five Norman departments, only one, that of the Lower Seine, shows an increase, and the increase there is solely due to the attraction of the large towns of Havre and Rouen. The tendency of population to gravitate toward the cities, at the expense of the rural districts, is as marked in France as in other countries, and contributes its quota toward retarding the growth of the country as a whole; for mankind are less prolific in towns than in the country. A few departments show an increase of population, and these, curiously, are about evenly divided between the richest and the poorest departments in the nation. The cause of the stationary condition of the population is found, by those who endeavor to account for it, in the evenly comfortable situation of the people. They are contented with things as they are, and avoid having large families, in order to evade extra exertion and prevent the diminution of their estates that would follow if there were many heirs to divide them among. Every one aims to live and save, so as to leave his children as well off as himself, and a little better off if possible. Hence very few have more than three children. All the large towns have increased enormously during the present century, at such a rate that, if the population of the whole country had increased at the same rate, France would have had seventy-five million inhabitants, or would have been as densely populated as England. Had it not been, in fact, for the augmentation of the populations of Paris, Lyons, and Marseilles, the population of all France would have actually diminished during the last five years. This augmentative population, except as it is of foreign origin, contributes, as we have seen, to the tendency to depletion of the aggregate.

 

Anthropology in Italy.—Anthropology is studied in Italy with considerable zeal, and nearly every large town has its collection and its specialist of repute. The country, as may be judged from the figure it has made in history, is rich in monuments dating from a very great antiquity. In upper Italy earth-walls have recently been discovered on the mountain-heights, which are attributed to the Celts. The plains of Lombardy and Emilia have furnished numerous remains of lake-dwellings, which have been studied by Pigorini, Strobel, and Chierici, and are represented in the collections of Parma and Reggio. Not less important are the Etruscan necropolis of Margabotto and that of the Cerlosa of Bologna. Bologna has its newly built Museo Civico under the direction of Gozzodini, and the accomplished geologist Capelini, who has discovered traces of cannibalism in a cave on the Island of Palmaria. The Olmo skull, which Cocchi