Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 15.djvu/77

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67
NEW GUINEA AND ITS INHABITANTS.

valued by its possessors, and from its extreme conspicuousness is always noticed by travelers. No other race of people in the world possesses this character at all; but, strange to say, it appears very fully developed among the Cafusos of Brazil. These are a mixed race, the produce of negro and Indian parents, and their enormous wigs of frizzly hair have been described by Spix and Martius, and are known to most South American travelers. Still more interesting is the appearance of a similar peculiarity among the Arab tribes of Taku in eastern Africa, where mixtures of negro and Arab blood are very common.[1] It is well known that hybrid and mongrel characters are liable to great variation, and are very uncertain in their appearance or degree of development. If, therefore, the higher type of Papuans are the result of a remote intermixture of Hindoos or Arabs with the indigenous Papuans, we can account both for the appearance of the great mop of frizzly hair and for its extremely unequal development; and it is not improbable that the Jewish and greatly elongated nose may have a similar origin.

 

If we now take account of all the evidence yet obtained, we seem justified in concluding that the great mass of the inhabitants of New Guinea form one well-marked race — the Papuan — varying within comparatively narrow limits, and everywhere presenting distinctive features which separate it from all other races of mankind. The only important deviation from the type occurs in the southeastern peninsula, where a considerable Polynesian immigration has undoubtedly taken place, and greatly modified the character of the population. At other points immigrants from some of the surrounding islands may have formed small settlements, but it is a mistake to suppose that there are any Malay colonies on the southwest coast, though some of the natives may have adopted the Malay dress and some of the outward forms of Mohammedanism.

If we look over the globe for the nearest allies of the Papuans, we find them undoubtedly in equatorial and southern Africa, where alone there is an extensive and varied race of dark-colored, frizzly-haired people. The connecting links are found in the dwarfish, woolly-haired tribes of the Philippines, the Malay Peninsula, and the Andaman Islands; and, taking these altogether, we may well suppose them to represent one of the earliest, if not actually the most primitive type of man. It is customary to consider the Australians to be a lower race, and they undoubtedly are so intellectually, but this by no means proves that they are more primitive. The Australian's hair is fine and glossy like our own; and no one can look at a good series of photographs of natives without being struck with the wonderful resemblance many of them bear to countenances familiar to us at home — coarse and brutalized indeed, but still unmistakably similar.

We must also take note of the fact that the two great woolly-haired

  1. Waitz's "Anthropology," English translation, vol. i., p. 175.