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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'I'm; 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 Guide-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 Guide-Book. Et is only when taken fmm 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, '.". 1 I. L5, and li! the Museum is indebted to the
proprietor of Knowledge <ni<l Scientific News.


Zoological Department (Vertebrate Sei dion),
British Mosei ; bal History),

Cromwell Road, S.W.
September l /. 1908.



The collection of specimens illustrating the Races of Mankind was
at first arranged on the system adopted by Sir William Flower
in his anthropological works ; but certain modifications — especially
in regard to the racial position of Australians and Malays — have
been subsequently introduced.

In the present edition of this Guide-Book, which has been
thoroughly revised, the author—Mr. R. Lydekker — is indebted for
many suggestions to Professor A. C. Haddon, F.R.S., of Cambridge,
to Mr. T. A. Joyce, of the Department of British and Medieval
Antiquities and Ethnography at the British Museum, Bloornsbury,
and likewise to the Curator of the Department of Anthropology in
the U.S. National Museum at Washington.

The Trustees are indebted to Dr. II. 0. Forbes, late Director of
the Museum at Liverpool, for the greater number of the life-size
photographs of the heads of various races exhibited in the gallery.
These photographs were specially prepared for the collection under
the supervision of Dr. Forbes, by whom they were presented.


August, 1912.


Tins Guide-Book in its present form is the third impression of
the Second Edition, the alterations having been limited to a few
small corrections and additions.

British Museum (Natural Bibtoby),

Cromwell Road, S.W. 7.

August, L921.

Ki eper of Zoology.


Mankind, Family Bominidae 9

Caucasian, ob White Races 11

Aryans 13

Semitic Group 1 1

II limit if Group 1 I

Nilgiri Tribes .... 15

Dravidians 16

Veddas 16

Toalas 16

Sakais 17

Ainus 17

Native A.ustralians 17

Extinct European Racrs 1< S

Polynesians 19

Maoris 20

Mongolian, ob Yellow and Red Races -'l

Eskimo "-''

Altaic, or Siberian Mongols 22

Sinitic, or Southern Mongols 22

Japanese and Koreans -'•'<

Indonesians. . . , 24

Native Americans 25

Negbo, ob Black K lces 28

African, or True Negroes 28

Negrillos, or Pigmies :; "

Bushmen ;;n

Papuasians (Papuans and Melanesians) 31

Tasmanian- 38

Negritos ........ :'>;'.


So far as his bodily structure is concerned, Man
Mankind, amV] .. 8Q Blightly from fche higlier Apes thai he is

may classed in bhe same order — the Primates, in which lie
Hominidae. constifcufcea fcne family ffominidm. All the differed

existing races of Mankind are commonly regarded as belonging to a

- _«' species, of which the Caucasians, as being those to which the
name Homo sapiens, of Linnaeus, applies in the first instance, may
be regarded as the type. Numerous classifications of bhese races
have been proposed : hut it seems best to recognise three distincl
types into which primitive Man (wherever he may first have made
his appearance mi the glohe) diverged. These three groups, which
are best defined by the characters of the hair, are respectively typified
by(l) the Caucasian, or White Races of Europe; (•_') the Mongolian,
or Yellow Racs of Asia ; and (:■'») the Xegro, 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 thai it is difficull to find characters by which they
can be exactly distinguished.

Tin* 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 Physical Anthropology ; whereas the study of the
manners and customs of the different races, their languages, dress,
weapon-, implements, etc., constitutes Ethnography. In the maps
showing the approximate distribution of bhe groups and subgroups,
no account is taken of modern migrations, such as bhe introduction
of African Negroes into the Wesl Indies and America, or bhe
replacement of the native races in many parts of the -lobe by

Before proceeding to review bhe specimens illustrating the
aforesaid three main groups or branches and their subdivisions; a
few words may be devoted bo the structural features by which Man
is distinguished from other Mammals, some of which are indicated


Guide to the Races of Mankind.

in ;i special case ;it the western end of that portion of the Upper
Mammal Gallery at present open to the public.

The skeletOD of .Man differs 'from that of ordinary Mammals
mainly in relation to the upright position of the body, and the
adaptation of the fore-limbs, or arms, to net as organs of touch and
for grasping ; while at the same time the hind-limbs 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 situated in a straight line with the axis of the spine, or vertebral
column, instead of at right angles to it, as in ordinary quadrupedal
Mammals ; the thumb is so attached to the wrist-bones as to be com-
pletely 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

Fig. 1.

Skull of a Caucasian.

little power of grasping, but forming a base on which the body is
1 ialanced. The tail is only represented by the coccyx, an immovable bone
composed of from three to five consolidated joints or vertebra?. The
three main curves of the vertebral column are also distinctive.

The human skull (fig. 1) differs from that of the other
Mammals in the great relative size of the brain-case, and the
reduction of the bones of the face ; this being related to the
high development of the brain, the disuse of the jaws and teeth as
weapons, ami the perfection of binocular vision. 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,

Family Hominidce. I I

receding forehead, overhanging brows, flat aose-bones, long, 1"\\ eye-
Bockets, 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.

The position of the foramen magnum, or aperture for the passage
of the spinal cord, is very different to that of other Mammals ; its
front margin (basion) being nearly in the middle of the lower surface.
This is intimately connected with the erect posture of Man.

I id ike Apes, the grinding surfaces of the teeth are nearly in one
plane, and the length of the palate slightly exceeds the breadth, which
is greatest behind. The teeth, which are relatively small, form a
regular curve, the molars diminishing in size from before backwards.

The stylohyal, which is a separate bone in all Apes except the
Orang-utan, is coossified with the skull in Man.

Great differences occur in the shape of the skull in the various
races. In the Kai-colo of Fiji, for instance, the skull is extra-
ordinarily long and narrow (dolichocephalic type), a specimen
exhibited in the case illustrating the differences between Man and
Apes having a maximum length of 180 millimetres with a width of
124 mm. In certain other races, such as the Negritos, and still
more in some Caucasians, it is equally remarkable for its shortness
and breadth {Jbrachycephalic type) ; the skull of a Florentine woman
exhibited in the aforesaid case having a longitudinal diameter
of L58 and a transverse diameter of 140 mm.

The methods of measuring human skulls are likewise displayed
in the same case. On the adjacent screens and partitions are
diagrams, photographs, and sketches illustrating hand and finger
prims, and identification by means of the latter.

In Man and the Man-like Apes the caecum, or blind sac at the
junction of the small with the large intestine, is furnished with a
slender vermiform [worm-like] appendix. This appendage, which
appears to be quite useless, is a vestige of the large, coiled, functional
caecum found in many of the lower Mammals.

The series exhibited commences on the left side of the Upper

Mammal Gallery with the Caucasians, which are followed by tie

Mongolians, and these again by the Negroes.

. In its highest and most typical development the

__-.., ' Caucasian branch, which includes all the inhabitants
or WnitG

of Western Europe, displays a refined cast of features,

with thin lips, and the oose narrow and high at the

bridge. The hair, which is usually well developed both on the

I •_■ Guide to the Races of Mankind.

Bcalp and face is generally wavy, and never so long or so cylindrical
as in the Mongol group, or so shorl and so elliptical in section as
in Negroes. The skull (fig. L), 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 slightly marked.

This branch includes two types — namely, the Blonde Caucasians,
or Xanthochroi, and the Dark Caucasians, or Melanochroi — which
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 Finns
and Laplanders, as also to some of the tribes of Northern Siberia.

In the Dark Caucasians the eyes and hair are dark, 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
Bamitic. It also comprises the Dravidians of India, the Veddas of
Ceylon, probably the Ainus of Japan, and the Maoutzi of China, and
perhaps the natives of Australia and a large part of Polynesia, as
well as the Maori of New Zealand.

In North-eastern Africa numerous cross-races have originated
between this type and Negroes.

In order to exhibit the Caucasian 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
Papuan 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 Apes and Monkeys the
two elements are fused into a single bone, as in Man ; but in the
lower Mammals, such as Dogs, they remain separate throughout life.

On the side of the same case are shown a number of skulls
of various European races, both ancient and modern, including
skulls of Celts, Saxons, Ancient Britons, Ancient Etruscans, and
Ancient Cypriotes; still earlier skulls are represented by plaster
casts, and are provisionally classed as Caucasian.

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

Aryan-Speaking Races. 1:1

A restored model "I the bust of the Fossil Man found at
Cromagnon, in Prance, is shown, ami with it are placed for com-
parison bnats of three other extinct types the Neanderthal
Man, found near Diisseldorf ; the Piltdown Man. from Sussex
{Eoanthropus) ; and the Javan Pithecanthropus . ]

Such Dark Caucasians as come under the denomination

y " neither of Semites or Ilamites are commonly termed

P e s Aryans, a designation which refer- solely to com-

munity of language-type. As the 1 Monde Caucasians, or

Xanthochroi, are also Aryan-speaking people, the two groups must

be considered together.

The Aryan-speaking races are divisible into an Asiatic and a
European group. To the former belong the Bramins of India,
and the races who now speak Bengali, Nepali, Kashmiri, Hindi,
and Urdu — the language of the Mogul camps. Punjabi, Sindi,
and Mahratha are also languages belonging to this group, which
likewise includes the Siaposh of Kafiristan, and the Gipsy tribes
who wandered from India into Europe between the 11th and
1 ith centuries. The second branch of Asiatic Aryan-speaking
tribes includes the people who spoke Zend, the ancient sacred
language of Persia, from whom, mixed with Semitic elements, are
derived the modern Persians. To this group may also be affiliated
the Kurds of South-western Asia, as well as the Afghans and the
Baluchis, together with certain other Central Asian races and a few
of the tribes inhabiting the Caucasus.

The European Aryan-speaking races may be separated Into
North and South Europeans. The former includes the Letto-
Sclavonic and Germanic branches; of which the Lett- comprise
the true Letts, the Lithuanians, and the Prussians, while the
Russians are Hast Sclavonic; the South Sclavonic being repre-
sented by the inhabitants of Croatia, Serbia.. Bosnia, and Herze-
govina. The Germanic branch diverged at an early date into
(iotiis, Scandinavians, and Teutons. The Southern Europeans are
more intricately subdivided, the firsl to sever themselves were
apparently the Ancient Greeks; a second branch being formed by
the Albanians, and a third by the Italians.

On the east, or entrance, side of the second duse are exhibited
skulls and photographs of a uumber of Asiatic Aryan-speaking races,

1 See "(iuide to the Fossil Remains of Man."

I I Guide to the Races of Mankind.

as well as of other Asiatic Caucasians, to some of which reference is
made later.

Eere may be mentioned the Berbers, who are of a distinctly
European type, and may be derived from the ancient dolmen
or mound builders. In addition to the Guanches of the Canaries,
the Berbers include the nationalities formerly known as Libyans,
Moors, Nuniidians, and Gastulians : the Kabyles of Algeria are
pure Berbers, hut in many parts of North Africa the group is
much mingled with a Semitic strain.

The Semitic section of the Dark Caucasians populates
Semitic ^y esteru As j a an j part f Eastern Africa. Its members
uroup. are mQre b ear( j e( j t h an ^e Hamites, and frequently
possess expressive features, with thin lips, high and often aquiline
noses, and well-marked eyebrows ; the colour of the skin varying
from an ordinary swarthy to a deep brown. Among Jews the skull
frequently tends to the short type, thereby apparently indicating
a Hittite admixture ; but it is always proportionately longer in
Arabs, and still more so in Abyssinians. In addition to the
races mentioned, this group includes the Ancient Assyrians and
Babylonians, as well as the Semitic Chakheans.

. . The Hamitic group of Dark Caucasians occupies
Ham l much of North Africa as far as the Eastern Sudan, and

P* 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 by the Coptic Christians. Of the East African
Hamites the inhabitants of the Nubian Nile districts most nearly
resemble the Ancient Egyptians ; their purest representatives being
the Bisharin, the Hadendoa, and some of the Beni Amer. £The
Bahima of Uganda are likewise of Hamitic descent. Here also are
placed the Gallas, who live partly in Abyssinia and partly in the
interior of East Africa. Although the pure Gallas are lighter, some
of these tribes are as dark as Negroes, having curly hair and
abundant beards. Somalis are now generally considered to be near
akin to Gallas, and thus nearly pure Hamites. They have long thin
faces, bearded chins, and generally frizzly hair.

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

A large number of skulls of Ancient Egyptians, the gift of
Professor Flinders Petrie, is exhibited : the type of countenance

Nilgiri Tribes. 15

characteristic of the former inhabitants of the Nile Valley being
illustrated bya cast of a contemporary miniature Imst. A photograph
of a modern Egyptian and another of a Copt are likewise shown;
and th<i-e 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
• 3, and frizzled hair.

.... . . The Nilgiri Hills and adjacent districts of Southern

Nil o 'iri t

_ .f India, such as the Wvnad, arc the home of a number

of peculiar tribes, uow for the most part of Dravidian,

that is to say, non-Aryan, speech. Among these are the Todas,

nadily distinguished by their splendid physique, regular Caucasian

features, black wavy hail', full-flowing heard, aquiline nose, light

brown complexion, ami tall stature, averaging 5 ft. '.> in. in the

men. Photographs of both male and female Todas are shown in

<'a<e '1. 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 are easy to distinguish from one
another, but much difficulty is experienced in tin- cave of the Irula>.
Knrumbas, ami Kurubas. [rulas, however, have a very dark skin,
Blight beard, bushy eyebrows, and little hair on the body and limbs ;
that of the head being cut short in front and tied in a knot behind.
The ears project, and the cheek-bones are prominent and the lips thin.

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

Xel another tribe are the Paniyans of Malabar, characterised by
their dark skin, short stature, broad noses, and curly hair, which i-
neither parted nor tied.

The Kadirs, of the Anamalai Hills and the range extending

I r> Guide to the Races of Mankind.

bhence 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
extremely dark colour of the skin, the breadth and flatness of the
Qose, ami the somewhat thickened and protruding lips. In spite of
i heir Negro-like teal hits, Kadirs preserve the Caucasian type in their
wavy (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.

The Dravidiau group includes the Teliugas, or
Dravidians. Telugllgj of the Northern Circars ; the Tamils of

the Camatic, South Travancore, and Northern 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
wavy black hair. Although preceding the Aryan-speaking Hindus,
Dravidians were far from being the earliest inhabitants of the
Deccan, who were probably aberrant Negritos.

_ , , The Yeddas of Ceylon (fig. 2 ), now very few in number,


form one of the most primitive types of the Caucasian

group in Asia, being apparently a pre-Dravidian stock of a decidedly

lower type than any existing 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, and the feet notable for their unusual

flatness. The colour of the skin is dark brown, although among the

men its shade varies considerably on different parts of the body. In

length the hair shows considerable individual variation, and may

be either nearly straight or waved ; a very characteristic feature is

i he development of the beard of the men into a chin-tuft. The

skull is small and long.

Several photographs of Yeddas are exhibited in Cases 2 and 2*,

the originals of which were taken by Drs. P. and F. Sarasin.

The Toalas of Celebes are an ancient but mixed tribe
apparently nearly allied to the Yeddas of Ceylon.
Their characteristics, coupled with their geographical position, serve
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 Yeddas and Toalas.

~ (5

Sakais. 1 7

Sikais ^ , ^° ^kais of the Malay Peninsula form another

type of low Caucasians allied to Veddas and
Australians. From their Negrito neighbours the Semangs thej
distinguished by the colour of the skin, which is often as yellow as
in an Indonesian (Malay), or even as light as in a Chinaman ; while

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)