Body-Build and Its Inheritance

Body-Build and Its Inheritance

Body-Build and Its Inheritance

Body-Build and Its Inheritance

Excerpt

This study of the hereditary factors of body-build is an outgrowth of the author's activities in the office of the Surgeon-General of the Army during the World War, where he was in charge of anthropology. In the examination of thousands of young men the extraordinary diversity of build was a striking fact. The question of its genetic basis arose and the desire was stimulated to find out if those physiologists are correct who account for variations from average build solely on the ground of special conditions of food intake and activity, and generally disregard the possibility that factors of heredity are involved. It was anticipated that the study would be a minor one. But, on account of the wealth of family data at the Eugenics Record Office, the task assumed unexpectedly large proportions. Much correspondence had to be undertaken to secure confirmation or correction of the records, and the period of analysis of the materials grew from months into years, while the manuscript of the text and tables accumulated.

Though it has added much to the bulk of the volume, it has seemed desirable to print full details about the more critical cases. Geographical location, race, occupation, and diseases have been generally given because they all bear upon build. The height and weight are of course given, and these are usually in English measurements, since they were first reported in that system. They are given in brief form thus: "120/63 inches"; which means that the subject weighed 120 pounds (usually including clothing) and was 63 inches tall (without shoes). The word "inches" is added as an indicator of the system of measurement employed. In other cases English measures, or indices based on them, are placed in parenthesis in accordance with scientific custom. Net relative chest-girths, where given, are based on measurements taken just below the axilla, are reduced to "on skin" measurements by subtracting 3 centimeters for summer clothing and 6 centimeters for indoor winter clothing, and are divided by net stature.

To this book many persons have contributed. Hundreds have furnished data on the Records of Family Traits. Dr. Bret Ratner kindly responded to my request by having daily measurements made on 11 infants during the first 10 days of life. The photographs of men of standard build were contributed by Dr. George L. Meylan; the photographs of boys on plate 3 were obtained for me by Dr. William Burdick, of the Playground Association of Baltimore. Through the . . .

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