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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/362

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

tribes of the Hamitic family, speaking allied languages, vary notably with the climate. The Gallas and Somalis, near the equator, have dark-brown skins and frizzly hair, while their kindred, the Berbers of North Africa, have, in the plains, olive complexions and wavy brown or black hair—and in the mountain valleys, where the climate reminds one of Germany, often display fair skins and reddish or blonde hair, which take our thoughts back to the same country. Here, too, admixtures of negro. Vandal, and other races have been needlessly suggested, to account for facts which the differences of climate sufficiently explain.

But we have examples before our eyes. The differences which have been caused solely by climate, in two or three centuries, between Anglo-Americans and Englishmen, and between Spanish-Americans and Spaniards, are certainly much greater than the differences of language. In Australia, while the language remains unaltered, two generations have sufficed to give rise to a distinct variety of the English "breed of men." It is somewhat surprising that with these examples in full view, and with the many like instances which have been accumulated by Pritchard, Darwin, Quatrefages, and other writers—and in face, too, of the well-known facts that the Semitic, the Chinese, and the Aryan tongues have remained radically unaltered for thousands of years—the delusive notion should still be entertained that physical traits are more permanent than language.

Those who deny the necessary connection of race and language argue that an individual can not change the physical traits which show his origin, while be can, and often does, change his language. But it should be remembered that an individual never thus adopts a new language unless when residing among the people who speak it, and among whom, if be remains and has descendants, these must become intermingled and absorbed. In like manner a community, as has been shown, never adopts a new language except under the direct pressure of a stronger population, with which it ultimately becomes united in one people of mixed blood. If, in this mingled race, one element is much stronger than the other, the weaker element is finally absorbed, leaving perhaps little or no apparent trace, either in the language or the aspect of the population. If both elements are strong, the aspect of the people and the form of the language alike show evidence of the mixture. The fact, therefore, remains that language is the indication, and the only sure indication, of the origin of a community.

But how, then, it may be asked, are we to determine the position of those prehistoric populations, of whom such remarkable traces have been brought to light—the "river-drift men," the "cave men," the lake-dwellers, the mound-builders, the cliff-dwellers—whose languages are utterly unknown? The answer is, that this is a matter which belongs solely to anthropology, and in no manner to ethnology. Much can be learned, of the highest interest and importance, about the men