Page:Descent of Man 1875.djvu/208

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Part I.
The Descent of Man.

later lead to extinction; the end, in most cases, being promptly determined by the inroads of conquering tribes.

On the Formation of the Races of Man.—In some cases the crossing of distinct races has led to the formation of a new race. The singular fact that the Europeans and Hindoos, who belong to the same Aryan stock, and speak a language fundamentally the same, differ widely in appearance, whilst Europeans differ but little from Jews, who belong to the Semitic stock, and speak quite another language, has been accounted for by Broca,[1] through certain Aryan branches having been largely crossed by indigenous tribes during their wide diffusion. When two races in close contact cross, the first result is a heterogeneous mixture: thus Mr. Hunter, in describing the Santali or hill-tribes of India, says that hundreds of imperceptible gradations may be traced "from the black, squat tribes of the mountains to the tall olive-coloured Brahman, with his intellectual brow, calm eyes, and high but narrow head;" so that it is necessary in courts of justice to ask the witnesses whether they are Santalis or Hindoos.[2] Whether a heterogeneous people, such as the inhabitants of some of the Polynesian islands, formed by the crossing of two distinct races, with few or no pure members left, would ever become homogeneous, is not known from direct evidence. But as with our domesticated animals, a cross-breed can certainly be fixed and made uniform by careful selection[3] in the course of a few generations, we may infer that the free inter-crossing of a heterogeneous mixture during a long descent would supply the place of selection, and overcome any tendency to reversion; so that the crossed race would ultimately become homogeneous, though it might not partake in an equal degree of the characters of the two parent-races.

Of all the differences between the races of man, the colour of the skin is the most conspicuous and one of the best marked. It was formerly thought that differences of this kind could be accounted for by long exposure to different climates; but Pallas first shewed that this is not tenable, and he has since been followed by almost all anthropologists.[4] This view has been rejected chiefly because the distribution of the variously coloured races, most of whom have long inhabited their

  1. 'On Anthropology,' translation, 'Anthropolog. Review,' Jan. 1868, p. 38.
  2. 'The Annals of Rural Bengal,' 1868, p. 134.
  3. 'The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication', vol. ii. p. 95.
  4. Pallas, 'Act. Acad. St. Petersburg,' 1780, part ii. p. 69. He was followed by Rudolphi, in his 'Beyträge zur Anthropologie', 1812. An excellent summary of the evidence is given by Godron, 'De l'Espèce,' 1859, vol. ii. p. 246, &c.