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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/506

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

This doctrine of a Mediterranean race depends upon the tacit assumption made by the physical anthropologists that identity or similarity of type means identity of race. Yet this assumption does not bear the test of scientific examination, for it assumes that only those who are sprung from a common stock can be similar in physical structure, and coloration, and it leaves altogether out of sight the effects of environment in changing racial types, and that, too, in no long time. The change in the type of the American of New England from that of his English ancestor and his approximation to the hatchet face and thin scraggy beard of the Red Indian have long been remarked, whilst the Boers of South Africa, in less than 150 years, have quite lost the old Dutch build, and become a tall weedy race. The effects of climatic conditions are very patent amongst the native peoples of the New World. The Iroquois of the temperate parts (lat. 40°-45°) of North America were a tall, rather light-complexioned race, but as we keep moving south and approach the equator, their kindred tribes grow somewhat darker in complexion and more feeble in physique, except where they live at a considerable altitude, for of course altitude acts in the same way as latitude. When once we pass below the equator the physique keeps steadily improving until we come to the Pampas Indians, a vigorous race who defied all the efforts of the Spaniards to subdue them; and finally we meet the Patagonians (lat. 40°-53°), a fine, tall, light-complexioned race, who form in the south the counterpart of the Iroquois and their closely allied tribes in the north.

The same law, as is well known, can be seen at work in Europe. Starting from the Mediterranean, we meet in the lower parts a melanochrous race; but gradually, as we advance upwards, the population as a whole is growing less dark, until finally, along the shores of the Baltic, we meet the tallest and most light-complexioned race in the world. Of course it has been explained that the change in pigmentation, as we advance from south to north, is due to the varying proportions in the admixture of the blond race of the north with the melanochrous of the south. But it is difficult to believe that the movements up or down of the people from the southern side of the Alps, or of those from the shores of the Baltic, have been so nicely proportioned as to give the general steady change from north to south in coloration without the aid of some other force. The case of America, which I have just cited, is in itself enough to raise a suspicion that climatic influences are at work all the time, and that environment is in reality the chief factor in the variation of both stature and pigmentation from the Mediterranean to the Baltic. The white race of the north is of the same proximate ancestry as the dark-complexioned peoples of the northern shores of the Mediterranean. I have already argued elsewhere that, as the ice-sheet receded, mankind kept pressing farther