Family Treasures: A Study of the Inheritance of Normal Characteristics in Man

By David D. Whitney | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIII
BIRTHMARKS, ACQUIRED CHARACTERS, AND DISEASE

Birthmarks.--Until rather recently any abnormality in a baby, no matter what the size or nature of the defect, could usually be explained quite readily by its parents as being produced by an experience of the mother before the child was born. In other words, the unborn baby was marked by its mother. The kind of experience that the mother had, of course, determined the nature of the birthmark. If an expectant mother overturned the coffee-pot at the breakfast table, her baby, when it was born, might have a large brown mole on its back. A weeping mother might have a baby with drooping eyelids (Fig. 219). If a mother unexpectedly saw blood or a man drinking from a bottle, her baby might be marked with a large red blotch on its face or the imprint of a bottle on its body. Mothers seeing strange animals at a circus or being in a buggy with a runaway horse might have babies with strangely shaped heads or growths of long tail hairs at the end of their spines. Harelips were brought about by the mothers noticing the partially divided upper lips of hares or rabbits. A few decades ago it is said that Norway had a national law prohibiting meat shops from exposing to public view hares with their normal divided lips. Consequently the front tip of the head was removed from all hares in their preparation for the market. By this simple method of preventing expectant mothers from seeing the lips of hares it was believed that harelips of children of an entire nation could be kept at a minimum!

A mother might be frightened at night, and her child would

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Family Treasures: A Study of the Inheritance of Normal Characteristics in Man
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 1
  • Contents 3
  • Preface 5
  • Chapter I- The Family 9
  • Chapter II- The Individual 30
  • Chapter III- Hair 48
  • Chapter IV- The Eyes 82
  • Chapter V- The Mouth 94
  • Chapter VI - The Ears 110
  • Chapter VII- The Nose, Cheeks, Chin, and Jaws 126
  • Chapter IX- The Feet 172
  • Chapter X- The Body 186
  • Chapter XI- Temperaments and Special Abilities 203
  • Chapter XII- Good Health 228
  • Chapter XIII- Birthmarks, Acquired Characters, and Disease 239
  • Chapter XIV- Sex 256
  • Chapter XV- Nature of Man 267
  • Glossary of Terms Commonly Used in the Study of Heredity in Man 288
  • Index 295
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