The New Student's Reference Work/Anthropometry

41074The New Student's Reference Work — Anthropometry


An'thropom'etry, the science of the measurement of the human body, is of use in the study of different races of men and also of special groups, such as school-children and even criminals. It is of service also in medicine both for the purpose of a more exact knowledge of the symptoms of disease and for the more reliable use of measurements of the average rate and variation of the circulation of the blood, respiration, etc. It is not only necessary to have these measurements in large numbers; but to have them under different conditions. Francis Galton of England was perhaps the pioneer of the science of anthropometry. It was only in 1875 that measurements of average height, weight, girth of chest, etc., were ordered to be made for the British Association. In connection with education, the measurements by Galton, Karl Pearson, Cattell, Edward Thorndike and others are worthy of notice. Many such measurements have been collected by President Stanley Hall in his recent work on Adolescence (1908). The system of identifying criminals by means of thumb-marks and other physical measurements is an example of the application of anthropometry in another field. Physical statistics are often collected by the doctors in charge of large gymnasiums. But scientists now endeavor to measure mental as well as physical traits; and although such measurements are indirect, they represent a greater degree of exactness than mere opinion.