(Chapter XI, section 6)

The Veddoid periphery, Hadhramaut to Baluchistan

Although this chapter is primarily concerned with the Mediterranean race, it will be necessary, for the sake of geographical continuity, to discuss certain non-Mediterranean racial elements in southwestern Asia before turning back to the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea and continuing the study of the rest of the Mediterranean racial area. These racial elements may be lumped under one category, the Veddoid. Veddoid-looking people are first noticed, in proceeding from west to east, in the country around Aden, and as a minority element in the population of southern Yemen. In the Hadhramaut country they become numerically important; while among the Mahra, Qara, and Shahara, the non-Arabic-speaking tribesmen who live between the Hadhramaut and Oman, they constitute the principal racial factor in the groups mentioned.

In the Hadhramaut Country there are tribes and clans of Arabs who entered the valley from the west and north in pre-Islamic and post-Islamic times; there are also holy families of Sayyids, who concern themselves with the spiritual life of the region; besides these Arabs, however, and besides the so-called Bedawin who are the subjects of this section, other population elements of relatively recent arrival must be mentioned. These consist of two groups, an African and a Southeast Asiatic.

Negroes have been imported into the Hadhramaut as agricultural slaves ever since the beginning of the sea-power of Oman in the Middle Ages, and probably were introduced in smaller numbers in even earlier times. These negroes and descendants of negroes, bonded and emancipated, form a large community which is called by the general term Hojeri. This class remains at least as distinct as the negro group in the United States; although there is much mixture, the Arabs and Bedawin still remain almost wholly free from negroid traits, since the product of the mixture remains, as a rule, in the Hojeri category.

These Hojeris are numerous on the Yemen coastal plain, and a very old class of Hojeris exists in the southern Yemen, probably since the time of the Abyssinian domination in the century just before the arrival of Islam. They are not, however, found in the Yemen plateau country, which we have already designated as the home of the purest Mediterranean racial type in Asia. In the Hejaz negroes are numerous, and in the Nejd every important family has its negro or negroid slaves, while a subservient class of blacksmiths is partly negroid.

In the Hadhramaut itself, and in the Mahra and Dhofar regions, the free tribesmen of Veddoid racial tendency distinguish carefully between themselves and negroids, and use as their primary basis of judgment, when genealogies are not known, hair form and facial features rather than skin color. Besides the Hojeris of slave descent there are villages of Somalis along the coasts of the Hadhramaut country, and also in the valley itself. These Somali villages are suburbs of straw huts, built outside the walls of the proper masonry towns of the Arabs. The Somali arrival is still so recent a phenomenon that these people have kept their own language and customs, and show no tendency toward assimilation, either physical or cultural.

Whereas the African element in the South Arabian population has kept itself distinct, the opposite is true of the immigrants from southeastern Asia and Indonesia. For centuries it has been a common practice for members of the Arab families of the towns in the valley, for example, Terim, Saiwun, and Shibam, to go as young men to Singapore, Batavia, and Colombo, and to set up shop as merchants. This practice dates back to the time when the Hadhrami missionaries converted the Malay to Islam, and probably even earlier. The cultural influence of the Hadhramis on the Malay States and Indonesia has been profound, and, to a lesser extent, the reverse is true. From the racial standpoint, however, the few thousand Hadhramis have made little impress on the millions of Malays, while the merchants who have brought their native wives home from Singapore and Java have introduced an important mongoloid factor into the valley. Except for the Sayyid group, it is the upper stratum of Hadhramaut society which has been affected by this mongoloid infusion. The Bedawin remain genetically isolated from mongoloid and negroid alike.

These Bedawin represent a variety of blendings between the standard southern Arabian Mediterranean type, and one or more alien strains which are neither mongoloid nor negroid. These Bedawin may be divided without difficulty into three types which are not the product of the sorting machine, but which any observer, whether or not anthropologically trained, would notice. The first is Mediterranean, and approaches the Yemenitic form. The second, which we will call the fine type, is hook-nosed and lean bodied; the third, which we will call the coarse type, is broader and lower-nosed, and thicker-set in bodily build. Since the character of the first is already well known, we shall describe only the second and third. In the population of the country from Aden eastward to Mahra, the fine type is the most numerous, forming more than half of the whole; the Mediterranean is nearly twice as common as the coarse type. As one goes eastward into the Mahra and Qara country, among non-Arabic speakers, and also, apparently, to Socotra, the Mediterranean type falls into the background. According to Bertram Thomas’s data, the Mahra and Qara belong mostly to the fine type, and the subject peoples, including the Shahara, mostly to the coarse. All cultural data point to the priority of the coarse type as a primitive local population.

In stature these Bedawin are shorter than the Mediterraneans, with statures of 163 cm. for the fine type, and 161 cm. for the coarse; the arms of both are relatively longer than with the Mediterraneans, the legs shorter, the sitting height greater. In all these bodily traits the coarse type exceeds the fine in its divergence from the Mediterranean norm. The heads are smaller than those of most indubitably white groups yet studied; in length and breadth dimensions the two types are much alike, with length means of 180 to 182 mm., and breadths of 148 mm. The resultant cephalic index means are 82 for the fine type, and 81 for the coarse.33 The vaults are of moderate height; the faces narrow. The fine type has the extraordinarily small bigonial mean of 98 mm., which gives the face a triangular appearance.

In a number of metrical characters these types deviate quite widely from the Mediterranean mean; the distance between the outer eye corners (biorbital diameter) is great, especially in the coarse type, while in the fine type the distance between the inner corners (interorbital diameter) is extremely narrow. The faces are absolutely very short, especially those of coarse type, with a mean of 115 mm.; the noses of the fine type are very leptorrhine (N. I. = 60.2); those of the coarse type nearly mesorrhine (N. I. = 68.1).

In skin color the Hadhramis are definitely darker than the Mediterranean Yemenis. The exposed hue of the fine type—and with the Hadhrami costume most of the skin is exposed—is light to medium brown, ranging mostly from von Luschan #15 to #25, and, in a few instances, very dark brown; among individuals of the coarse type it is usually darker, with nearly 20 per cent in the chocolate-brown class, from #26 to #29. These skins are definitely too dark for white men. The unexposed color of the fine type is swarthy-white to light brown, with the darkest individual at von Luschan #18, a café au lait hue. The coarse type again is usually darker, within the same general range.

The hair-form is the most noticeable diagnostic of these types, partly because of the fashion of wearing the head hair long, either loose or bunched on top of the head in a knot. No individual in the series of either type has straight hair; in the former, 40 per cent are curly, the rest wavy; in the latter, 57 per cent are curly. No frizzly or negroid hair occurs in either type. The curls are wide ringlets like those of many European children, and like those cultivated by orthodox Jews and by ladies’ hairdressers. Much of the wavy hair might also be curly if it were not combed out. This hair is of medium texture among the first type, often fine among the second.

Correlations and contingencies made upon the total Hadhramaut group show that deeply waved and curly hair form a correlative unit; they are correlated with fine hair, cephalic indices running up to 83, higher nasal indices and shorter stature than the other hair forms. By means of these correlations, using hair form as a primary diagnostic, one may isolate by directional influences a short-statured, short-legged, fine-haired, moderately brachycephalic, euryporsopic, mesorrhine racial type.

In both the coarse and fine types, the head hair is abundant and baldness rare; in the fine type the beard is sparse, in the coarse type moderate to heavy; the body hair varies likewise. Among the members of the coarse type the head and beard hair are both uniformly black; among those of the fine type, a few brown heads appear, and about 10 per cent of brown and red beards. In the eye color also, the same difference appears; the coarse type has 22 per cent of black eyes, and all but 9 per cent of the rest are dark brown. The 9 per cent represents a mixed minority with gray or green elements in the iris. Among the members of the fine type, partial eye blondism rises to 15 per cent, and there is much mixture between various shades of brown and black. This again indicates the mixed condition of the fine type, and the relatively stable condition of the coarse.

The eyes of both are typically without folds, and show no obliquity. The browridges of the fine type are heavier than those of the Mediterraneans, while among the members of the coarse type 35 per cent of browridges are actually heavy. The greatest difference between the two types comes in the nose. That of the fine type is extremely high-rooted and high-bridged, and extremely narrow; the nasion depression is slight or absent, and the profile, in 72 per cent of cases, convex. This convexity takes the form of a highly beaked curve, unlike the angular convexity observed among northern Europeans, and among many Irano-Afghans. The tip is thin and horizontal, the wings closely compressed, the nostrils thin and parallel.

The noses most frequently observed in the coarse type are deep-rooted under glabella, of moderate height and breadth, often wide; they are straight in 78 per cent of cases, with an everted tip of medium thickness. The nostrils are moderately wide, and the wings intermediate between compressed and flaring.

Among the members of the fine type the lips are thin and little everted; those of the coarse type are thicker and quite frequently everted to a considerable degree. The fine type has little prognathism, while a minority of the coarse type shows both facial and alveolar varieties.

The fine type, with its thin face, has little malar prominence; the coarse type is distinguished by a positive forward projection and a considerable lateral extension. This is purely a morphological feature, however, for the bizygomatic is still absolutely narrow.

It is easy enough to account for the southern Arabian Bedawi of the coarse type. He is obviously related to the Vedda of Ceylon, and to the most important element in the Dravidian-speaking population of southern India. His hair form, his facial features, his pigmentation, and his general size and proportions confirm this relationship. The Veddoid race, in turn, has many eastward extensions, among the Shom Pen of Great Nicobar, the Toala of the Celebes, and as a racial sub-stratum in many of the islands of the chain running from Sumatra through Java, Flores, Sumbawa, and Timor, almost to New Guinea.

The Veddoids possess an obvious relationship with the aborigines of Australia, and possibly a less patent one with the Negritos. The racial history of southern Asia has not yet been thoroughly worked out, and it is too early to postulate what these relationships may be. At any rate, like all major divisions, the Veddoid group appears to include both dolichocephalic and brachycephalic sub-races. Among the present inhabitants of southern Arabia the Veddoid strain is found in various degrees of dilution. Individuals who could pass for Vedda may easily be found, however, and in a few instances, individuals who are to all extents and purposes Australoid; but these latter, as illustrated on Plate 19, are rare.

The fine type, with its paper-thin hooked nose, is intermediate between the Mediterranean and Veddoid positions in most metrical and morphological characters. Only in its sagittally mid-facial and nasal compression and in perhaps a slightly greater tendency to brachycephaly, is it different from either. At this point we must anticipate the findings of our analysis of the Dinaric and Armenoid races of Europe and Asia Minor,34 and restate the principle that in a cross between A and B, the formula A + B / 2 does not apply to all characters, and most rarely of all, if ever, to the nose. In the formation of the Dinaric and Armenoid racial types, roughly a third of Alpine, when combined with some Mediterranean form produces a brachycephalic, beaky-faced hybrid of considerable stability.35 If we substitute the Veddoid of brachycephalic tendency for the Alpine, we obtain, by the same principle, the finely featured, beak-nosed Hadhrami. It is possible that the short-statured, low-vaulted, relatively broad-nosed brachycephalic seafaring race of the Persian Gulf and the coastal towns of the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea is involved in this mixture, but this is unnecessary and, on metrical, morphological, cultural, and historical grounds, unlikely.

Directly across the Persian Gulf from the easternmost tip of Arabia, on the Persian mainland, lies the western boundary of the Persian Makran, the territory occupied by part of the western Baluchis. These are separated by an intrusion of Indians, speaking Sanskrit derivatives, from the eastern Baluchis and from the Brahui, whose language has been linked with Dravidian. Although the Baluchis speak Indo-European languages of the Iranian family, like the Persians, Afghans, and Pathans, their racial relationsh lies partly elsewhere.36 With the Brahui they seem to be the results of a mixture between the Veddoid type isolated in the Hadhramaut, and the Irano-Afghan race to which their linguistic relatives belong. The difference between the majority of the Baluchis and Brahui and the fine type of the Hadhramaut is simply the difference between the small Mediterranean type of southern Arabia and the Irano-Afghan. On the whole the Baluchis are somewhat taller, with stature means from 164 to 168 cm., their heads, however, are of about the same length, from 178 to 182 mm., and the cephalic index hovers about the 82 mark.37 The facial measurements are much the same, except for an excessive nose length, which is without doubt an Irano-Afghan contribution.

For pigment and morphology we are reduced almost entirely to photographs and general descriptions. It is evident, however, that many of the Baluchis are thin-faced and hook-nosed; that their hair is abundant and seldom straight; and that their skins are dark and their hair and eyes usually brunet.

This survey has shown that there still exists, along the shores of the Indian Ocean, from the mouth of the Indus to the Bab-el Mandeb, a submerged population of Veddoid peoples who are in turn related to the whole early southern Asiatic racial group, which includes, as an extreme and evolutionarily retarded branch, the Australoids. This racial group, in combination with the pygmies, has without doubt had much to do with the formation of Papuans and Melanesians. At present it is impossible to tell how old this Veddoid sub-stratum is in southern Arabia; whether it is as ancient as the Mediterraneans, or is a fairly recent prehistoric intrusion from the east. For a further study of it one must turn to India, but since the present book is concerned with The Races of Europe, we feel that we have wandered eastward far enough, and we shall leave the problems of Indian physical anthropology in the competent hands of Guha and of Bowles.



33 The extremely high cephalic indices found by Bertram Thomas in his small series of southern Arabian tribesmen may be partly attributed to technical inconsistency. The head lengths seem to be some 10 to 20 mm. short. This may be checked by his mean of 174.8 mm. on 6 Somalis. The standard Somali mean is 192 mm., taken from a series of 80 Somalis measured by the author in southern Arabia. Thomas, B., Arabia Felix, Appendix I, by Keith, Sir A., and Krogman, W. M.

34 See Chapter XII, sections 13 and 18.

35 This principle was discovered by Dr. Byron O. Hughes in an extensive statistical analysis of 1500 Armenian males, carried on according to genetic principles. It was stated in his doctor’s thesis, "The Physical Anthropology of Native Born Armenians," submitted to the Division of Anthropology of Harvard University in 1938 and yet unpublished.

36 Metrical data upon which the following discussion is based come from an unsigned publication, entitled Anthropometric Data from Baluchistan, a part of the Ethnographic Survey of India series, published in Calcutta, 1908. A few groups are taken from Joyce’s Publication of Sir Aurel Stein’s measurements, JRAI, vol. 62, 1912, pp. 450—484.

I am indebted to Dr. Gordon Bowles for the collection and presentation of this material.

One group of Baluchi, the Sangur, represented by 16 individuals in the Ethnographic Survey of India publication, has a mean C. I. of 86.3, but this is due to the possession of a greater head breadth than the others, rather than to a reduction in head length.