Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 45.djvu/783

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THE HALF-BLOOD INDIAN.

THE HALF-BLOOD INDIAN.

AN ANTHROPOMETRIC STUDY.

By FRANZ BOAS.[1]

THERE are few countries in which, the effects of intermixture of races and of change of environment upon the physical characteristics of man can be studied as advantageously as in America, where a process of slow amalgamation between three distinct races is taking place. Migration and intermarriage have been a fruitful source of intermixture in the Old World, and have had the effect of effacing strong contrasts in adjoining countries. While the contrasts between European, negro, and Mongol are striking, their territories are connected by broad stretches of land which are occupied by intermediate types. For this reason there are only few places in the Old World in which the component elements of a mixed race can be traced to their sources by historical methods. In America, on the other hand, we have a native race which, although far from being uniform in itself, offers a marked contrast to all other races. Its affiliations are closest toward the races of Eastern Asia, remotest to the European and negro races. Extensive intermixture with these foreign races has commenced in recent times. Furthermore, the European and African have been transferred to new surroundings on this continent, and have produced a numerous hybrid race, the history of which can also be traced with considerable accuracy. We find, therefore, two races in new surroundings and three hybrid races which offer a promising subject for investigation: the Indian-white, the Indian-negro, and the negro-white. The following study is devoted to a comparison of the Indian race with the Indian-white hybrid race.

It is generally supposed that hybrid races show a decrease in fertility, and are therefore not likely to survive. This view is not borne out by statistics of the number of children of Indian women and of half-blood women. The average number of children of five hundred and seventy-seven Indian women and of one hundred and forty-one half-blood women more than forty years old is 5·9 children for the former and 7·9 children for the latter. It is instructive to compare the number of children for each woman in the two groups. While about ten per cent of the Indian


  1. The material for this study was collected for the Department of Ethnology of the World's Columbian Exposition. Prof. F. W. Putnam, chief of the department, organized a Section of Physical Anthropology, in charge of the writer. It was one of the objects of this section to collect anthropometric material illustrating the racial characteristics of the North American Indians.