Full text: Problems in eugenics

D. C. Gini.Sociology and Eugenics.297 
differ from the rest of the population chiefly in respect of the quality of their 
environment; we must also bear in mind the enormous differences which 
have been discovered between the two classes so far as mortality during 
development is concerned. 
But the self-interest of individuals and family affection seem sufficient to 
make certain of this improvement so far as it is possible, while as far as means 
1 and 3 for improving the race are concerned, sexual instinct, social habits and 
individual ambition are in a position to cause results diametrically opposed to 
those desired by Eugenists. On means 1 and 3 therefore the attention of 
Eugenists ought to be concentrated. Now such means especially consist 
in the control of the circumstances by which the breeding and rearing of human 
offspring differ from the breeding and rearing of the species of higher animals in 
a wild state. 
4. This paper is specially devoted to bringing new contributions to bear on the 
study of these circumstances, based upon data obtained mainly from the most 
accurate official statistics on the fluctuations of the population, and partly from 
investigations specially made, or caused to be made, by the author in the offices 
of Municipal Statistics at Rome and Cagliari, and the lying-in Hospitals of several 
Italian towns.CHAPTER II. 
Offspring in relation to the month of conception. 
5. The phenomenon of the periodicity of births according to months has 
been investigated for some time, using data relating to many States in Europe. 
In these States the number of births gives two maxima: one, covering the longer 
period, extends in most of these countries between January and April, corres­ 
ponding to conceptions occurring between April and July; the other, shorter and 
as a rule less marked, is reached in September, and corresponds to conceptions 
occurring in December. This is usually attributed to social causes, especially 
to the return of many absentees at the feasts of Christmas and the New Year, 
and to the consequent resumption of interrupted conjugal intercourse; the 
other is attributed exclusively or chiefly to natural causes ; that is to say, to a 
greater capacity of the human organism for reproduction in the spring. The 
fact that illegitimate births shew a longer and higher maximum during the 
winter months, and that they usually shew the maximum of September either 
slightly or not at all, is regarded as a confirmation of this explanation. 
If this be admitted, it is reasonable to compare the greater fecundity of the 
human species during spring with the period of heat which, in the greater part 
of those animal species which have a single period, falls in the same season. 
The much greater frequency of conception in spring represents in fact,

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