Human Races

Human Races

Human Races

Human Races

Excerpt

Ten years ago Carleton Coon, Joseph Birdsell and the present author collaborated on a little book entitled Races: A Study of the Problems of Race Formation in Man. In it we eschewed the then traditional anthropometric measurements and morphological ratings, and compiled no formidable catalog of human racial groupings. We were interested in one central problem--how human races came to be.

When we wrote Races, the mere mention of race was still uncomfortable to many, that soon after the tragic excesses of the Third Reich. But we were not concerned with notions of racial superiority or inferiority. We were writing about races in man, how they arose and how they changed, as they are changing still.

Races was venturesome for its time, a time when the concept of a "pure race" was still tenable, and when scholars still wrote of fixed, static and unchanging races, incapable of genetic change. But the tempo of discovery soon passed us by. Critically investigated, using the new tools of biochemical genetics, human races proved capable of more rapid change than the most optimistic guess would have warranted. Directions of natural selection within race populations, a subject we had speculated about, proved most varied, and at the same time susceptible to exact measurement. With renewed interest in human raciation, problems of human differentiation have been newly tackled. The entire field of Geographical Medicine, a newcomer among the disciplines, has added vital meaning to the study of race.

Human Races now is a very different book from what Races (1950) was. It is one man's product, both Coon and Birdsell being busy with their own investigations and their own publications on race. At the same time, Human Races is the contribution of many investigators, the results of a most active decade of race-

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