Racial Definitions `Hangover from Days of Colonialism'

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The concept of race is out of date and has no biological basis, according to scientists.

C Loring Brace, professor of anthropology at Michigan University, United States, told the meeting that if people had to be defined in terms of ethnic types it should be done on the basis of geographical origin rather than physical features.

The professor told the meeting that dividing people into a handful of distinct races was a historical hangover from the days of colonial conquest and had never been important in the evolution of the human species.

"There was no race concept prior to the Renaissance. There is no race concept in the Bible or other writings of antiquity," he said. "The best way to refer to people is to use geographical designations. Thus people can be identified as African, or Australian, or European, and the like."

Scientists have submitted an updated definition of race based on this concept to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Development Organisation for approval and adoption, Solomon Katz, professor of anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, said. …