Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 50.djvu/801

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

the Oberland sometimes upward of three times as many. Is it possible that this blondness in the mountains may be due to race? If so, it must be Teutonic. Our map of Europe shows that Switzerland is cut in halves at just this point by an intrusive strip of northern blondness. Dr. Studer explained it on the assumption that this blondness migrating to the south along the Rhine, and then up the Aar, had heaped itself up, so to speak, against this great geographical barrier. This supposition might be tenable were not the evidence of the head form for all Europe flatly opposed to it. There is nothing to show that the law of segregation of the Alpine type in the areas of isolation does not hold here as in the Tyrol, in western Switzerland, and the Black Forest. Central Switzerland was historically overrun by the Helvetians, who have been identified as Teutonic by race. The Rhætians were the more primitive Alpine type. Every principle of human nature and ethnology opposes the supposition that these conquering Helvetians would be content to leave the darker Rhætians in full possession of the fertile plain of the Aar while they betook themselves to the barren valleys of the Oberland. Everywhere else in Europe the rule is, "To the conqueror belong the plains, to the vanquished the hills." The blondness of the Oberland must therefore be regarded as racially anomalous. Another explanation for it must be found in the influence of environment.

Our final example, tending to prove that in mountainous areas of isolation some cause is at work which tends to disturb racial equilibrium in the color of the hair and eyes, is drawn from Dr. Livi's monumental treatise on the anthropology of Italy. In entire independence of my own inferences, he arrived at an identical conclusion that blondness somehow is favored by a mountainous environment. From a study of three hundred thousand recruits he found that fourteen out of the sixteen compartimenti into which Italy is divided conformed to this law. There was generally from four to five per cent more blondness above the four-hundred-metre line of elevation than below it.[1] The true significance of these figures is greater than at first appears, for we have again to consider the contrasts in the light of racial probability. In northern Italy the mountains ought to be lighter than the plains, because the Alps are here as elsewhere a stronghold of a racial type relatively blond as compared with the Mediterranean

  1. Anthropometria Militare, p. 63 seq. A review of this work is given by the author in Publications of the American Statistical Association, vol. v, pp. 38 and 101 seq. This law is shown by study of provinces also. There are sixty-nine of these available for comparison. Twelve of these contain no mountains; thirty-two show manifestly greater blondness in both hair and eyes; fifteen show it partially; in two, mountain and plain are equal; and in the remaining seven the law is reversed. Several of these latter are explainable by local disturbances.