Full text: Problems in eugenics

G. Sergi.Biology and Eugenics.i7 
been written and maintained on the subject of acquired characters, and 
knows also how many others are now labouring on this problem. But the 
history would be out of place here. 
It is not our intention to occupy ourselves here with the theories or to 
define the problems of variation and heredity. We only wish to put for­ 
ward certain facts which are concerned with these two problems in the case 
of man, and to state our own opinion about them where it seems desirable. 
One of the most controverted problems in anthropology is that which 
deals with the form of the human skull in respect of its persistence or vari­ 
ability. Now, in the first place, we claim that we have established the 
existence of primary forms according to the morphological structure of the 
human skull, not according to conventional craniometry—i.e., dolicomorphic 
and brachimorphic. These differ as regards the proportion of length 
to breadth, and approximate to the established categories of craniometry with­ 
out becoming identified with them. The dolicomorphic type includes the 
skull long by structure and the two categories of dolicocephalic and meso- 
cephalic, but can also include some of the brachicephalic. The brachi­ 
morphic type receives all or the greatest part of the brachicephalic, and can 
also include mesocephalic skulls. Hitherto anthropologists have not ad­ 
mitted this fact, because they do not take account of the morphology of the 
human skull except by means of the cephalic index. For many years we 
have been showing that craniometry does not correspond to craniomorphy. 
Besides, the two primary forms are divided into others which we have called 
cranial varieties, and hence there exist varieties of the dolicomorphic skull 
and varieties of the brachimorphic skull. In recent years an analysis of the 
American forms has led to the discovery of a new class between the two 
primary classes, i.e., the pecilomorphic, or a form which cannot be included 
in either of the two earlier forms.* 
With these conceptions to guide us we come to the problem—are the 
brachimorphic derived from the dolicomorphic? This problem has been put 
forward by many and for a long time, but no one has ever proposed the other 
problem, i.e., can the dolicomorphic be derived from the brachimorphic, 
perhaps because it is believed that the first is primitive and the second only 
derived? Now, if we admit the evolution of one form into another, as 
some have maintained, we must admit a great variability, which, if it could 
be proved, would completely alter this portion of the human frame, to 
* See our works : Human Varieties and Species, Turin, 1900. Man, according to 
his origins, variations, antiquity, and geographical distribution, Turin, 19TI. 
* See Boas : Changes in bodily form of Descendants of Immigrants, Washington, 
1910. Id. Abstract of the Report of Changes, etc., Washington, 1911. 
Sergi : II preteso mutamento delle form fisiche dei descendenti degli immigrati in 
America : Rivista di Sociologia, 1912. 
Radosavljevich : Professor Boas’s new theory of the formation of the head : 
Amer. Anthropologist, Vol. 13, No. 3.C

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