October 25, 2005

"On Human Diversity"

"On Human Diversity" -- Armand M. Leroi, the author of that fine essay "A Family Tree in Every Gene" in the New York Times earlier this year has an article in The Scientist called "On Human Diversity." The caption reads:

The physical phenotypic differences between this Sudanese skull (right) and this European skull (left) are apparent. (From J.L.A. de Quatrefages, E.T. Hamy, Crania ethnica: les Cranes des races humaines, Baillere et fils: Paris, 1882.)

Why has the genetics community discarded so many phenotypes?
By Armand M. Leroi

Henry Flower became director of the British Museum of Natural History in 1884, and promptly set about rearranging exhibits. He set a display of human skulls to show their diversity of shape across the globe. A century later, the skulls had gone, and in their place was a large photograph of soccer fans standing in their terraces bearing the legend: "We are all members of a single species, Homo sapiens. But we are not identical." In 2004 even this went, and so it is that the world's greatest natural history museum has nothing to say to the public about the nature and extent of human biological diversity.

Of course, The Natural History Museum, as the British Museum of Natural History is now known, is not the only institution to relegate such demonstrations to the basement.

Leroi may be referring to my 2002 VDARE.com articleMalvina Hoffman's Nuer (Sudanese) Warrior about how the famous Field Museum in Chicago has broken up and demeaned its fabulous collection of 104 life-size sculptures by Malvina Hoffman representing "The Races of Mankind." When I last visited it in 1999, Hoffman's 6'-8" Sudanese Nuer tribesman had been relegated to a dusty spot in the basement next to the Mold-o-Vac and Penny Squeezer souvenir-making machines.

Leroi continues:

After the 1960s, physical anthropologists, struggling to bury the idea of race, buried phenotypes as well – sometimes literally so, as human remains have been reinterred by aboriginal claimants. They turned, instead, to comfortably neutral genetic markers to unravel the highways and byways of human history. This magnificent enterprise has charted our species' path out of Africa using successive generations of markers: blood type, allozyme, mitochondrial DNA, the Y chromosome, and nuclear single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). But is it enough? I would argue not. I would argue that it is time to resurrect the study of human phenotypic diversity. [More]

That skull comparison: A reader writes regarding the picture (below) of the European (left half) and Sudanese (right half) skulls that illustrates Armand Leroi's new article:

I find it interesting that the picture aligns the two skulls flush at the *TOP*. If they aligned the two skull together at the eye orbits you'd notice the obviously smaller frontal cranial area in the right skull. Attached [above right] is a quick edit realigning at eye sockets. Smaller brain, bigger jaw.

Hey, there are a lot of careers where that combination pays off in the big bucks. Did you ever notice how college professors and intellectuals like to wear beards, while most salesmen are clean-shaven? A beard covers up a weak jawline. (See the picture at the top of my homepage for an example.)


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer


Anonymous said...

What you've not noticed is that the white man's eye socket is also smaller.

In fact, it is pathologically so, and he will undoubtedly be a glasses-wearer.

The two facts are not unrelated.

You need a far more adequate diet that the average urbanised Westerner gets these days to have proper facial development. Specifically, you need a diet high in those oh-so-deplored animal fats. Diets of hunter-gatherers eating traditional foodstuffs are at least TEN times greater in fat-soluble vitamins (A and D). That Nuer gets plenty of fatty meat.

Grain-heavy, undernourishing, politically correct diets, and diets high in trashy commercial foods, will not nourish the parents before conception, the child in the womb, the mother during lactation, or the infant during growth. The normal face-shape for *all* humans is broad with a strong jaw. If your teeth don't fit the jaw -- if you've some extracted, have impacted wisdom teeth, or have worn a dental brace, it's because the middle third of your face and the lower mandible didn't grow as it should have. That's a result of inadequate nutrition.

I'm not interested in saying that the Nuer would be as clever (or cleverer) than any given white man -- although he *might* be -- because I think that's political correctness, and I believe political correctness to be a lot of look-at-me sentimental grandstanding.

But you're missing the bigger picture here -- which is the US (and European) Governments pushing so-called "healthy" diets at people that are actually unhealthy and ruin their dental and also cranial health. (Big business and the trashy nutrient-starved processed foods it markets is also implicated.)

There's a huge knock-on effect from that on general health, too.

Why do professors have weak chins? I'm not sure they all do. Has anyone done a reliable survey on it? If they do what would it mean? Well their heads would be unbalanced: think of the effect that has on posture. Lack of development in the face -- evidenced by narrowing and lengthening (this is why the sample "white skull" is taller; but you can see the same effect in urbanised blacks) -- also impacts on the nose and airways. That affects breathing, which is crucial to sport. Maybe your professor isn't so smart after all. Perhaps he can't swim or run or catch a cricket ball or a rugby ball as well as the other children. Perhaps that's why he spent more time with his books.

In any event, here's an explanation of the development of the teeth and skull by a more-than-usually clued-up dentist:



Anonymous said...

Proving racial hierarchies with photoshop adjustments over illustrations. Brilliant. Who has the smaller mouth wins.

Anonymous said...

Simplistic drivel. Chin size is not a "racial trait" its possibly a ethnic trait but even that is not absolute.

Actually, a generalization of Africans in contrast to Europeans is having a protruding round forehead, where as more Europeans have a flat sloped forehead (often noted in people with roman noses).

The picture is merely comparing 2 individual skulls. Its no different that taking Gary Coleman's and Yao Min's skeleton and saying Africans are small and Asians are Big.
It just inaccurate and simplistic.

Anonymous said...

I agree that comparing only two skulls does not get you far. On the other hand, I don't believe this is the point being made. I believe the key point being made is that political correctness gets in the way of neutral scientific study and creates a kind of ignorance to the truth of human diversity. On the other hand his example given isn't the best one. We really can't say for certain that the original alignment in that picture was to hide the difference between the proportions of the face to the cranium. The original simply looks better for a start with the top and bottom aligned.

The diet argument sounds like a load of crap to me. There are so many things that complicate the argument on diet. Different people are more genetically suited to different diets. Whether or not it has ten times more vitamins in a particular form or not makes no difference with no other data. That could turn out to be a hundred times more than your body can actually use. The western diet on the whole is not problem free but I would not say the ultimate diet is nothing but bush meat and a few berries.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, photoshop anthropology looks more like propaganda than science to me. You'd have to compare hundreds of skulls--really get familiar with them. I know that there are people who do this. But unless you're going to seriously do that, best to remain silent on it. Otherwise, it leads to silliness at best, feeds race-hatred at worst.

Anonymous said...

As does the domestication of animals change physical traits in animals, so does the domestication of man effect him, as we do unto ourselves. As a part of evolution, this is one part, as all needs to evolve, the brain ultimately is the source of change and the environment the influence.