Full text: Problems in eugenics

294Section III.D. C. Gini. 
By Dr. Corrado Gini. 
Professor of Statistics at the Royal University of Cagliari, Italy. 
Chapter I. 
Mortality during development in the human species and in that of the higher 
i. In the writings of biologists we often meet with the idea that the more 
evolved the species the less its mortality during development. Making use of 
a phrase unscientific, but to the point, we may say that the more Nature perfects 
the type of organism, the more she feels the need of economising lives. For 
instance, thousands of eggs are necessary to ensure the production of one 
adult frog, but offspring of the eagle and the lion are able to reach maturity in 
practically all cases. 
If this rule turned out to be well founded, we should certainly have to say 
that the human species provided a notable exception, compared with some 
species of the higher animals. 
For the human species we are furnished with tables of mortality for a 
comparatively recent period relating to nearly all the countries of Europe, and 
some of those of America, Asia, and Oceania. The percentage of offspring who 
die before complete development, which in man may be put down at twenty 
years of age, varies from 55% in India and 50% in Spain, to 22% in Norway, 
Sweden, Denmark and Ireland, and 21% in Western Australia (1). 
For the equine species Caramanzana has worked out a table of mortality 
according to which not more than 9.4% of the offspring die before attaining 
four years of age, when the horse attains to complete development (2). In 
the human species this percentage is exceeded only in the first year (3). 
Caramanzana’s table rests, indeed, upon a basis of hypotheses, which, however 
ingenious, are uncertain ; but the reliable and extensive data published by the 
Scandinavian Society for the insurance of live-stock suggest that the co­ 
efficients of mortality given by Caramanzana are very near the truth, and, if 
anything, rather too high (4). These data are based upon decennial census 
figures relating to Swedish horses, and refer to the ages from one to nineteen 
years. The co-efficient of mortality between o and one year of age is missing. 
If we suppose that from o to one year of age the mortality is represented by 
the calculations of Caramanzana, and that from one to four it is represented by 
the observations on Swedish horses, we shall be justified in saying that out of 
10,000 horses born, 9,257 survive to maturity.

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