(Chapter I, section 1)

Statement of Aims and Proposals

The present book is a textbook designed for the use of college students who have had or are taking a preliminary course in anthropology. Enough of it is, however, written in a non-technical way, so that students of allied disciplines may use it for reference. The subject matter to be studied consists of the body of statistical material collected by the world's physical anthropologists which concern the somatic character of peoples belonging to the white race. This material may be divided into (A), skeletons; and (B), metrical data and observations on the living..

By the use of this material we propose to follow the history of the white race from its Pleistocene1 beginnings to the present, and to provide a classification of sub-races which will be fully in accord with the facts as we now know them. We submit the thesis that man, as a domestic animal, is extremely variable; and that he has subjected himself, in his wanderings, to all of the environments of the earth, and hence is subject to environmental modification in a way unequalled by any other species. We further suggest that man, through his development of human cultures, has modi-fled his bodily form by his own devices.

During the Pleistocene period there were several species of primates which had attained some degree of human culture, by the acquisition of stone implements, of fire, and of speech. In the present post-glacial or interglacial period, in conformity with the general reduction in faunal varieties, man has been reduced to a single species, unique in a single genus. During the Pleistocene one species, at least, had developed in the manner of a foetalized terrestrial ape, and it is that species which carries today the main stem of Homo sapiens. Other species, including the fossil men of Java, of Peking, and Homo neanderthalensis, had developed at the same time into a heavier, hypermasculine endocrine form, with a luxuriance of jaws, teeth, and bony crests.

We propose to demonstrate that these non-foetalized species did not wholly die out, but that at least one of them was absorbed into the main human stem, at some time during the Middle, or the initial part of the Late, Pleistocene. From this amalgamation was produced the large, rugged, and relatively un-foetalized group of Upper Palaeolithic men in Europe, North Africa, and northern Asia. This type of man passed over Bering Straits in early post-glacial times, if not earlier, to provide the basic ge-netic stock from which the American Indian developed, in combination with later arrivals. From a branch of this hyperborean group there evolved, in northern Asia, the ancestral strain of the entire specialized mongoloid family.

We suggest that the ancestors of the whites in their major form developed during pluvial periods of the Pleistocene in parts of what is now the arid zone reaching from the Sahara to northern India; that in post-glacial times many were forced out of these homes by desiccation, and that some of them originated agriculture and animal husbandry in northeastern Africa and southwestern Asia. From these centers agricultural pioneers followed post-glacial zones of climate into Europe, gradually encroaching upon the lands formerly glaciated. In most of the regions which they occupied they greatly outnumbered the descendants of the hunters and fishers whose ancestors had clung on since glacial times, and many of whom had followed the retreating ice toward its last melting nuclei.

The occupation of all arable lands, and those suitable for grazing, was not completed in a century. or in a millennium; the process was a gradual one, and the withdrawal of the earlier inhabitants into environmentally protected fastnesses equally gradual. The entry of food-producers from Asia and Africa did not take a single route or involve a single people; it was a complex sequence of migrations through several ports of entry. The various strains of food-producers mixed with the food-gatherers whom they encountered, and with each other, until, in our own time, not a single group of complete food-gatherers has remained in white man's territory.

The food-producers seem to have been variants on one central racial theme, the basic Mediterranean. This basic Mediterranean stock varied in many respects, especially in stature and in pigmentation, but in its essential qualities, which segregated it from non-whites, it was remarkably uniform. We do not know that the survivors of the food-gatherers whom the Mediterranean food-producers absorbed were white in soft-part morphology, and there is some evidence that some had begun to evolve in a mongoloid, others perhaps in a negroid, direction. Such variations may be seen within the present composite white racial amalgam.

At any rate, the main conclusion of this study will be that the present races of Europe are derived from a blend of (A), food-producing peoples from Asia and Africa, of basically Mediterranean racial form, with (B), the descendants of interglacial and glacial food-gatherers, produced in turn by a blending of basic Homo sapiens, related to the remote ancestor of the Mediterraneans, with some non-sapiens species of general Neanderthaloid form. The actions and interactions of environment, selection, migration, and human culture upon the various entities within this amalgam, have produced the white race in its present complexity.

In view of these circumstances, the exact classification of living whites into sub-races, such as Nordics, Alpines, Dinaric, and so on, need not be made at this point, but can await (A) the historical study of the white race which will follow in Chapters II to VII; and (B) the survey of the living as a whole which will be made in Chapter VIII. In Chapters IX m XII, inclusive, we will make a more detailed regional survey of the living peoples of Europe to supplement the preceding sections.


1 The term Pleistocene is used here to signify the time span which, in Europe, began with the advance of the first Quatenary glaciation and which ended with the retreat of Würm II.