Full text: Problems in eugenics

V. G. Ruggeri. Biology and Eugenics.7 
we cannot imagine such an increase continuing indefinitely, and on the 
other, we know that the men of, say, iooo years ago were quite as tall as 
they are at present. What are the agencies alternately improving or im­ 
pairing the racial qualities? First of all, have we sufficiently exact, numeri­ 
cal information regarding the racial qualities? 
A critical examination of aill available data is very necessary. For 
example, the weight of new-born children is stated to have Increased in 
England by 59 and 82 grams during the past 20 years, and in Denmark 
we can point to an increase of 40 grams in 35 years. But when we con­ 
sider all the possible sources of error, it must be admitted that these state­ 
ments, and especially the former, require confirmation. The material is not 
homogenous. Again, it is stated, that the average height of adult women 
in France has increased by 3 cm. in the last 80 years—but when we read 
that the total number of measurements in the last period was only 255, we 
cannot rely very much upon this statement. 
On the whole, it may be said, that we have a few cases of definite increase 
and a goodly number very doubtful. We really need to have the first of the 
principal recommendations of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Physical 
Deterioration carried out in all countries, for, the more we subject the 
available data to critical scrutiny, the more we see the hopelessness of attain­ 
ing to any real and fruitful conclusions, unless we have an efficient organisa­ 
tion of capable workers, backed by governmental as well as private support. 
By Professor V. Guiffrida-Ruggeri, 
Professor of Anthropology, Naples. 
The Mendelian laws find verification in man. Every race, whether a 
sub-species or a variety, has an hereditary possession of certain characters; 
a possession which is completely transmitted to the descendants, in whom is 
preserved the same germ plasm as in the progenitors. 
The researches of C. B. and G. Davenport seem to have proved the reces­ 
sive character of albinism and its obedience to the Mendelian law. Hurst 
has presented figures which show that the inheritance of colour in the iris 
of the human eye obeys Mendelian laws. Davenport has established the 
order of dominance by the form of hair, which also obeys the Mendelian 
law.De Quatrefages, many years before the re-affirmation of Mendel’s dis­ 
coveries, wrote :— 
“ The union of individuals of different races involves a contest 
between their two natures—a contest of which the theatre is the field c

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