British Museum (Natural History). Dept. of Zoology.

Guide to the specimens illustrating the races of mankind (anthropology), exhibited in the Department of Zoology, British Museum (Natural History) .. online

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Online LibraryBritish Museum (Natural History). Dept. of ZoologyGuide to the specimens illustrating the races of mankind (anthropology), exhibited in the Department of Zoology, British Museum (Natural History) .. → online text (page 1 of 3)
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The collection of anthropological specimens (that is to say,
specimens illustrating the physical structure of the body of Man
and his position in the Animal Kingdom, as distinct from his works)
is at present in its infancy, and requires an almost indefinite increase
in order to make it anything like representative. Although skeletons
and skulls of the races of Mankind have for many years formed a
portion of the zoological collection, the anthropological series in its
present form is due to the initiation of the late Sir W. H. Flower,
by whom special interest was taken in this section of the Museum.

Unfortunately, of late years the anthropological series has not
increased so rapidly as is desirable. It may be hoped that the
publication of this Gruide-Book will stimulate public interest, and
thus lead to the growth of the collection.

The attention of those who may have the opportunity of
photographing any of the native races of mankind may be directed
to the importance of taking such photographs from two aspects, —
full-face and in profile — after the manner of most of the illustrations
in this Gruide-Book. It is only when taken from these two aspects
that photographs are capable of accurate comparison with one
another, and it is therefore these alone that are of any value to
the anthropologist.

The present Guide-Book is the work of Mr. R. Lydekker, to
whom has been entrusted the formation and arrangement of the
anthropological series in its present form.

For figures 8, 9, 14, 15, and 16 the Museum is indebted to the
proprietor of Knowledge and Scientific Neius.


Zoological Depaetment (Vertebrate Section),
British Museum (Natural History),
Cromwell Road, S.W.

September 1st, 1908.

1 «'^on



Mankind, Family Hominidae 7

Caucasian, or White Races 9

Aryans .... 10

Semitic Group . 11

Hamitic Group 11

Tribes of the Nilgiris . . 12

Dravidians 13

Veddas 13

Toalas 14

Ainus 14

Native Australians 14

Polynesians 16

^ Maoris . 16

Mongolian, oe Yellow and Red Races 17

Eskimo 17

Altaic, or Siberian Mongols 18

Sinitic, or Southern Mongols 19

Japanese and Coreans 20

Malays 20

Native Americans 21

Negro, or Black Races 24

African, or True Negroes 24

Negrillos, or Pigmies 25

Bushmen 27

Melanesians 28

Tasmanians 29

Negritos 30



So far as his bodily structure is concerned, Man
Mankind, ^.^^^.^ ^^ slightly from the liigher Apes that he is
^ . .^ classed in the same order — the Primates, in which he
Hommiaae. ^onstitntes the family Hominidm. All the different
existing races of Mankind are commonly regarded as belonging to a
single species, Homo sapiens, of which the Caucasians may be regarded
•as the type. Numerous classifications of these races have been pro-
posed ; but it seems best to recognise three distinct types into which
primitive Man (wherever he may first have made his appearance on
the globe) diverged. These are respectively typified by (1) the
Caucasian, or White Races of Europe ; (2) the Mongolian, or
Yellow Races of Asia ; and (:-)) the Negro, or Black Races of Africa.
Around these three types, or somewhere between them, may be
ranged all existing individuals of the species. Some races appear,
however, to be the result of direct crosses between well-established
extreme forms ; while others may have been derived from the
primitive stock before its triple division. All the groups have so
much in common that it is difiicult to find characters by which they
€an be exactly distinguished.

The series of specimens exhibited is intended to illustrate Man
solely from the zoological point of view — that is to say, from his
bodily structure and his geographical distribution. This constitutes
the science of Anthropology ; whereas the study of the manners and
customs of the different races, their languages, dress, weapons,
implements, etc., constitutes Ethnography. In the maps showing the
approximate distribution of the groups and sub-groups no account is
taken of modern migrations, such as the introduction of African
Negroes into the West Indies and America, or the replacement of
the native races of many parts of the globe by Europeans.

Before proceeding to review the specimens illustrating the
aforesaid three main branches and their subdivisions, a few words
may be devoted to the structural features by which Man is dis-
tinguished from other Mammals.

Tlie skeleton of Man differs from that of ordinary Mammals
mainly in relation to the upright position of the body, and the


Guide to the Races of Mankind.

adaptation of the fure-limbs, or arms, to act as organs of touch and
for grasping ; while at the same time the hind-Hmbs are sufficiently
developed to be capable, by themselves, of supporting and moving
the whole weight of the body. The direction of the hind-limbs, or
legs, is in a straight Une with the axis of the spine, or vertebral
column, instead of at right angles to it, as in ordinary Mammals ; the
thumb is so attached to the wrist-bones as to be completely opposable
to the four fingers ; while the great toe is fixed parallel to the other
toes, so that the foot is quite flat beneath, with little power of
grasping, but forming a base on which the Ijody is balanced. The

Fig. 1.

Skull of a Caucasian.

tail is only represented by the coccyx, an immovable bone composed
of from three to five joints or vertebrae.

The human skull differs from that of the other Mammals in the
great size of the brain-case, and the proportional reduction of the
bones of the face, the result of the high development of the brain
and the disuse of the jaws and teeth as weapons of offence and
defence. This indicates that the races of mankind with prominent
jaws and small brain-cases are of a lower type than those in which
the jaws are more reduced in size and the brain-case is larger.
Australians and Tasmanians have, for example, a comparatively small
brain-cavity, thick skull-bones, receding forehead, overhanging brows,
flat nose-bones, long, low eye-sOckets, very broad and low nose-
opening, forwardly projecting jaws but receding chin, and large teeth.
In each of these respects they strongly contrast with Europeans.

Great differences occtir in the shape of the sktiU in different

White Races. 9

races. In the Kai-colo of Fiji, for instance, the skull is extra-
ordinarily long: and narrow {doUchocephalk type) ; while in certain
other races, such as the Negritos, it is equally remarkable for its
shortness and breadth {bradtycepliaUc type). These and other
differences are well illustrated in a table-case at the west end of the
portion of the gallery open to the public, in which are also exhibited
many of the structural differences distinguishing; the Man-like Apes
from Man himself. The methods of measuring human skulls are
likewise displayed in this case. On the adjacent screens and parti-
tions are diagrams, photographs, and sketches illustrating hand and
finger prints, identification by means of the latter, " palmistry," etc.

The series exhibited commences on the left side of the Upper
Mammal Gallery with the Caucasians, which are followed by the
Mongolians, and these again by the Negroes.

In its highest development the Caucasian branch,
^^Wh^-^^' which includes all the inhabitants of Western Europe,
or White (jigpi^ys a refined cast of features, with thin lips, and

Races. ^^^ ^^^^ narrow and high at the bridge. The hair,
which is usually well developed both on the scalp and face, is
generally curly, and never so long or so cylindrical as in the Mongol
group, or so short and so elliptical in section as in Negroes. The
skull (fig. 1), in the higher representatives of this branch, is either of
medium length or rather short ; the teeth are relatively small ; and
the projection of the jaws and prominence of the cheek-bones are
but slightly marked.

This branch includes two types — namely, the Blonde Caucasians,
or Xanthochroi, and the Dark Caucasians, or Melanochroi— which \f
in Europe are now intimately blended. The first is characterised by
the fair complexion, eyes, and hair, and is chiefly found in Northern
Europe, especially Scandinavia, Scotland, and North Germany.
Although much mixed with the second type, the Blonde Caucasians
likewise extend into Afghanistan, and perhaps North Africa. Their
intercrossing with Mongols appears to have given rise to the Lapps
and Finns, as well as to some of the tribes of Northern Siberia.

In the Dark Caucasians the eyes and hair are black, but the skin
may vary between white and black. The group includes most of the
inhabitants of Southern Europe, Northern Africa, and South-Western
Asia ; the chief language-groups being the Aryan, Semitic, and
Hamitic. It also comprises the Dravidians of India, the Yeddas of
Ceylon, and probably tlie Ainus of Japan, the Maoutzi of China, and
the Australian natives, as well as the Polynesians.

10 V Guide to tJic Races of Mankind.

lu tlie south of lucliu the Dark Caucasians are mine-led with a
Negrillo stock, and in North-eastern Africa numerous ci'oss-mces
have originated between this ty]»e and Xe.trroes.

In order to exhibit the Caucasiati characteristics in their full
development, so far as the bony framework is concerned, the skeletons
of a European male and female are mounted in the first case on
the left side of the gallery. Alongside is placed the skull of a
Melanesiau from Torres Strait, for the purpose of showing the
occasional persistence in that race of a frontal suture ; that is to say,
of a line of division between the two elements of which the single
frontal bone of Man is really composed. In Melanesians tlie
permanent separation of these two elements seems by no means
imcommon, although in Europeans it is very rare. In Apes and
Monkeys the two elements are fused into a single bone, as in ]\lan ;
but in tlie lower Manmials, such as Dogs, they remain se])arate
throughout life.

On the side of the same case are shown a number of skulls of
various European races, both ancient and modern. Among the
former may be mentioned skulls of Celts, Saxons, Ancient Britons,
Ancient Etruscans, and Ancient Cypriotes ; still earlier are certain
skulls from Cromagnon, in France, and elsewhere, represented by
plaster casts, and provisionally classed as Caucasian.

Lapps, Swedes, and Norwegians are represented by a large series
of photographs, while skulls of Lapps and Tatars are also shown.

. Such of the Dark Caucasians as come under the de-

'^ ' nomination neither of Semites or Hamites are termed
Aryans, a designation which refers solely to community of language-
type, and has nothing to do with racial unity. As the Blonde
Caucasians, or Xanthochroi, are also Aryans, the two groups must
be considered together.

Aryans may be divided into an Asiatic and a European group.
To the former belong the Bramins of India, and the races who now
speak B(aigali, Nepali, Kashmiri, Hindi, and Urdu— the language of
the Mogul camps. Punjabi, Sindi, and Mahratha are also languages
belonging to this group, Avhich likewise includes the Siaposh of
Kafiristan, and the Gipsy tribes w^ho wandei'ed from India into
Europe between the 11th and 14th centuries. The second branch
of Asiatic Aryans includes the people who spoke Zend, the ancient
sacred language of Persia, from whom, mixed with Semitic elements,
are derived the modern Persians. Here also belong the Kurds of
Western Asia, as well as the Afghans and the Biluchis, together

Semitic Group. 11

with certain other Central Asian races and a few tribes of the

European Aryans may be separated into North and South
Europeans. The former inchides the Letto-Sclavonic and Germanic
branches ; of which the Letts comprise the true Letts, the
Lithuanians, and the Prussians, while tbe Russians are East
Sclavonic ; the South Sclavonic being represented by the
inhabitants of Croatia, Servia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina. The
Germanic branch diverged into Goths, Scandinavians, and Teutons.
The Southern Europeans are more intricately subdivided, the first to
sever themselves being apparently the Ancient Greeks : while a second
branch is formed by the Albanians, and a third by the Italians.

On the east, or entrance, side of the second case are exhibited
skulls and photographs of a number of Asiatic Aryans, as well as of
other Asiatic Caucasians, to some of which reference is made later.

Here may be mentioned the Berbers, who are of a distinctly
European type, and may be derived from the ancient dolmen-
builders. In addition to the Guanches of the Canaries, the Berbers
include the nations formerly known as Libyans, Moors, Numidians,
and Gi\3tulians : the Kabyles of Algeria are pure Berbers, but in
many parts of North Africa the group is much mingled with a
Semitic strain.

The Semitic section of the Dark Caucasians populates
Western Asia and part of Eastern Africa. Its members
P* are more bearded than the Hamites, and freijuently
possess expressive features, with thin hps, high and often aquih'ne
noses, and well-marked eyebrows ; the colour of the skin varying
from an ordinary swarthy to a deep brown. Among the Jews the
skull tends to the short type, but it is longer in the Arabs, and still
more so in the Abyssinians. In addition to the races mentioned,
this group includes the Ancient Assyrians and Babylonians, as well
as the Semitic Chalda^ans.

Photographs of Bisharin and other Arabs are exhibited in the
front of case No. 2.

^ . . The Hamitic group of Dark Caucasians occupies
_ much of North Africa as far as the Sudan and some of

^* the coast-districts of Eastern Africa northward of the
equator. It may be divided into two branches — (i) the Ancient
Egyptians, and (ii) the East African. The Ancient Egyptians are
still represented by the Fellahin of the Nile Valley, but more purely

12 ^ Guide to tJie Races of Mankind.

by the Coptic Christ iaus. Of the East African Hamitcs the inhabi-
tants of the Nubian Nile districts most nearly resemble the Ancient
Egyptians ; tlieir purest representatives being the Bisharin, the
Hadendoa, and some of the Beni Amer. The Battima of Uganda are
likewise Hamites. Here also are placed the Gallas, who live partly
in Abyssinia and partly in the interior of East Africa. Although as
dark as Negroes, they have curly hair and abundant beards. Ijess
certain is the position of the Somalis, who are regarded by some
writers as Hamites, and by others as a cross between Semites and
Negroes. They have long thin faces, bearded chins, and generally
frizzly hair.

A large number of skulls of Ancient Egyptians, the gift of
Professor Flinders Petrie, is exhibited ; while the type of coun-
tenance is illustrated by means of a cast of a contemporary- miniature
bust. A photograph of a modern Egyptian and another of a Copt
are likewise shown. There are also several photographs of Sudanis
and Somalis ; some of the physiognomies in which approximate to
the European type, while others are distinctly Negro-like, showing
thick lips, broad noses, and frizzled hair.

The Xilgiri Hills and adjacent districts of Southern
Tribes OI ii^jia, such as the Wynad, are the home of a number
. . . of peculiar tribes, now for the most part of Dravidian,

NUgiriS. ^1^,^^ |g ^^ g.^^^,^ non-Aryan, speech. Among these are
the Todas, readily distinguished by their splendid physique, regular
Caucasian features, black wavy hair, full-flowing beard, aquiline nose,
light brown complexion, and tall stature, averaging 5 ft. '.) in. in the
men. Photographs of both male and female Todas arc shown in
Case 2. The Kotas, who are restricted to seven villages, one of
which is in the Wynad, are much less hairy than the Todas, and
lack the strong development of the brow-ridges characteristic of the
skulls of the latter. Their black wavy hair is worn parted in the
middle, and tied in a bunch behind.

The Badagas are believed to be descendants from Kanarese
Hindus from Mysore, to whom they are related by language. They
are below the middle height, and of slender build, with narrow chest
and shoulders. In colour, they are lighter than other hill-tribes, the
pallor being especially noticeable in the women.

The three foregoing tribes a^e easy to distinguish from one
another, but much difficulty is experienced in the case of the Irulas,
Kurumbas, and Kurubas. Irulas have a very dark skin, slight
beard, bushy eyebrows, and little hair on the body and limbs ; that


> e

< s

Dravidia7is, 1 3

of the head being cut short in front and tied in a knot behind. The
ears project, the cheek-bones are prominent, and the lips thin.

The Knrumbas of the eastern slopes of the Nilgiris appear to be
a lower type than the Kurubas of the Mysore plateau, from whom
they are distinguished by their inferior stature, broader noses, and
darker skin. They have bleared eyes, a rather wide mouth, often
projecting teeth, and are remarkable for their leanness, their thin
legs, and relatively long arms.

Yet another tribe are the Paniyans of Malabar, characterised by
their dark skin, short stature, broad noses, and curly hair, which is
neither parted or tied.

The Kadirs, of the Anamalai Hills and the range extending
thence into Travancore, form a tribe of low organisation allied to the
numerous Dravidian-speaking races of the Nilgiris. They are
especially characterised by their comparatively short stature, the
very dark colour of the skin, the breadth and flatness of the nose,
and the somewhat thickened and protruding lips. In spite of their
Negro-like features, the Kadirs preserve the Caucasian type in their
curly (as distinct from frizzly) hair, and the non-projection of the
jaws. They are easily recognised by the custom of chipping the
front teeth, which prevails in both sexes.

Tlie Dravidian group includes the Telingas, or
Draviaians, ^elugus, of the Northern Circars ; the Tamils of
the Carnatic, South Travancore, and North Ceylon ; the Kanarese
of Mysore, the south of Bombay, and Kanara ; the Malayalim from
the Malabar Coast south of Kanara ; the Kodagu of Kurg ; the
Ordons and Rajmahalis of Chutia Nagpur ; and the Gonds of
Gondwana. Their most noticeable feature is the long, crimped or
curly black hair. Although preceding the Aryan-speaking Hindus,
the Dra vidians were not the earliest inhabitants of the Deccan, who
were probably aberrant Negritos. They are frequently regarded as
a people of Mongolian origin, who have assumed many of the
characters of the Hindus from contact with the races by whom they
are surrounded.

The Veddas of Ceylon (fig. 2), now very few in number,
form one of the most primitive types of the Caucasian
group in Asia, being decidedly lower than any of the Dravidians.
In stature they are very small, the height of the men averaging only
5 feet 2 inches, and that of the women 4 feet 10 inches. The body
is strongly built, with relatively long arms and legs ; the foot beino-

14 Ginde to the Races of Mankind.

very flat. The colour of the skin is dark l)rown, but its shade varies
in the men ou different parts of the body. In leiifrth the hair
shows considerable individual variation, and may be either nearly
straight or waved ; a very characteristic feature is the development of
the beard of the men into a cliin-tuft. The skull is small and long.
Several photouraphs of Veddas are exhibited in Case 2, the
originals of which were taken by Drs. P. and F. Sarasin.


The Toalas. of the mountains of the interior of
Celebes, are a tribe apparently nearly allied to the
Veddas of Ceylon. Their characteristics tend to support the view
that the aborigines of Australia, in place of belonging to the Negro
stock, are really descendants from a primitive Caucasian group allied
to both Veddas and Toalas.

The Ainus, or Hairy People, are the primitive in-
Ainus. habitants of Japan, and appear formerly to have

peopled all the islands, although they now form a substratum of the
population in Hokkaido (Yezo). In general physiognomy they appear
much like the Japanese, but differ from these and other Mongolian
races by their Inxuriant lieards, the bushy and curly hair on the
scalp, and the general hairiness of other parts of the body. This
hairiness separates them from all other Asiatic races, and it is
considered that their affinities are with the Dark Caucasians.
Several photographs of Ainu men and women, together with a
single skull, are shown on the west side of Case 2.

Dusky in complexion, with features and a skeleton
JNatiye approximating to the Negro type, although their

Australians, j^.^-^, -^ ^^^ frizzly, the native inhabitants of
Australia — the " Black Fellows " of the Colonists — have been a
puzzle to anthropologists. At one time they were regarded as a
cross-bred race, produced by the fusion of a frizzly-haired Melanesian
stock with one of the primitive Caucasian races. They are, how-
ever, now generally considered to be low-grade Caucasians, akin to
the Veddas of Ceylon, the Toalas of Celebes, and the Airnis of Japan ;
such Negro-like characters as they possess being due to inheritance
from a common stock, or, it may be, in some degree to secondary
variation. As a race, Australians, (fig. 8) are characterised by their
striking physical uniformity, both externally and in the skull ; had
they been of mixed origin such uniformity could not have existed.
The broad and scjuat nose, with the bridge low and the nostrils

i p

Anstralians. 15

open, is a Negro feature ; but these characters are exaggerated
owing to the use of a nose-peg. The prominence of the jaws is also
Negro-like ; but the size of the jaws and teeth may be an acquired
secondary character due to hard food. The deep notch above the
bridge of the nose and the sunken eyes, which form the most
striking characteristics of Australians, may be another secondary
adaptation due to the glare of the sandy plains on which they dwell.
Unlike Negroes, the Australians are extremely hairy — thereby
resembling Ainus ; the hair on the head being w^aved and long, the
beard full, and the body in some instances carrying so much hair
that the covering resembles a thin fur. The shape of the head also
differs from that in the Negro, the forehead being high and the
cheek-bones prominent. Indeed, the profile of the head may
approach the European type. The idea that Australians are the
lowest of mankind is erroneous. In mental characters these people
seem to approximate more to the Caucasian than to the Negro

A large series of photographs of natives from various parts of
the island, together with six busts of male and female inhabitants of
Victoria, and a number of skulls are exhibited on the west side of
Case 2. The deep incision at the root of the nose is displayed
equally well in the busts, photographs, and the skulls.

From Neanderthal, in Switzerland, as well as from several other
Continental localities, such as Spy and Krapina, have been obtained
skulls or fragments of skulls indicating a low type of the human
species ; so low', indeed, that some authorities regard them as repre-
senting a distinct species, the so-called Homo primigenius. These
skulls (casts of some of which are exhibited in Case 1 and in the
case showing the differences between Man and Monkeys) form the
subject of a memoir by Professor AY. J. Sollas, in the Philosophical
Transactions (vol. 199, p. 281, 1907), in which it is shown that
there are no grounds whatever for regarding the Neanderthal man
as a separate species. On the other hand, so far as the capacity of his

1 3

Online LibraryBritish Museum (Natural History). Dept. of ZoologyGuide to the specimens illustrating the races of mankind (anthropology), exhibited in the Department of Zoology, British Museum (Natural History) .. → online text (page 1 of 3)