Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/564

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Cape Horn found there the Patagonians, whose dimensions they singularly exaggerated. Pigafetta, the companion of Magellan in the first voyage round the world (1520), pretended that he and his companions scarcely reached to the height of their waists. One of his successors, Jofre Loaysa, with still greater extravagance, declared that the heads of the Christians reached only to the upper part of their thighs. This was, you see, to attribute to these people a height of 13 to 16 feet.

Time and science have done justice to these fables and exaggerations. Let us see what are in reality the extremes presented by the human stature.

It is plain that in this research we must leave out exceptional individuals, of which we see a certain number in the fairs and museums, or anywhere, for money. It is a question neither of General Tom Thumb, whom you have perhaps met sometimes in the Champs Elysées, nor of the French or Chinese giants, recently exhibited in Paris. I will only remark, in passing, that these individual exceptions appear among all nations, although more rarely, perhaps, in the midst of savage populations.

The smallest known race is that of the Bushman, which inhabits the southern part of Africa; the greatest is the Patagonian, of which we just named the country. An English traveller, Barrow, measured all the inhabitants of a tribe of the first; a French traveller, Alcide d'Orbigny, took the exact measure of a great number of individuals belonging to the second of these two extreme races.

It results from these measurements that the mean height of the Bushman is 4 feet 3½ inches, and that of the Patagonian 5 feet 8 inches. The mean difference between the greatest and the smallest human race is then 16½ inches.

The smallest Bushman measured by Barrow was a woman who was only 3 feet 10½ inches. The largest Patagonian measured by D'Orbigny attained 6 feet 3 inches. The greatest difference existing, then, between normal human individuals is 2 feet 8½-inches. The ratio between the extremes of height just named is nearly as 1 to 0.6. These figures signify much and lead to important consequences.

First, the difference in size among our domestic animals is much greater than that above indicated. From the great dogs that promenade in our court-yards, down to certain dogs which have figured at dog-shows, the ratio is 1 to 0.3. The difference is also as great between the large brewers' horses of London and horses from Shetland, which are sometimes not larger than a Newfoundland dog. These horses and these dogs are, however, only different races of a single species. One cannot reason, then, from differences of height to sustain the multiplicity of human species.

There is another consideration not less important:

From all the data I can gather, it results that the mean stature of