Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/291

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285
GENIUS AND HAIR-COLOR

semblance of support to theories of character based upon the color and structure of the hair. The characteristics of the hair not only form one of the leading tests of nationality, but there is a fairly well-marked difference between the hair of the lower and that of the higher races. In Huxley's celebrated classification of mankind, those peoples low in the scale of development are marked by black hair, usually straight, though sometimes of close spiral form—as, the Australoid, represented by the natives of Australia and the indigenous tribes of southern India,—the Negroid, dwelling between the Sahara and the Cape,—and the Mongoloid, occupying a vast area in Asia. Among the loftier races, on the other hand—the Xanthachroic, or fair whites, and Melanchroic, or dark whites, in Huxley's terminology—the former, occupying northern Europe as their chief seat though traceable also into northern Africa and eastward as far as Hindostan, have hair ranging from straw color to chestnut, and the latter, consisting chiefly of the Celts and of the populations of southern Europe, though finding representatives as far as India, have hair darkening from the middle shades to black; the hair of both of these types, however, as is well known, being usually wavy or curly.

In the coarseness of the hair the lower peoples probably betray their greater nearness in point of development to the animal ancestor of man, since the crown hair of the anthropoid brute—the chimpanzee, gorilla, orang-utan and gibbon—is of stiff, bristling structure. Nor can we say it is unsafe to infer the condition of man's progenitor in this respect from that of the modern apes, since, aside from all other proofs, there is a striking and peculiarly persuasive circumstance which shows how much of interest to the evolutionist lies hidden away within the cells and pigment-granules of the hair. It is invariably true with man, according to writers upon the subject, that if the beard and head hair vary in color the former is of lighter shade—a number of authorities add "generally reddish"—and this strange fact is equally true of the anthropoid apes, with whom the beard is often white, sometimes yellow or reddish; and this analogy with the anthropoids applies not only to the lower human races, with whom, as with the apes, the beard is scanty—it applies as well to the highest human races, with whom fulness of beard is a mark of racial superiority. In color, too, the hair of the anthropoid appears to show a kinship with that of the lower human tribes. The head hair of the chimpanzee is black, sometimes shot through with reddish hairs—that of the gorilla is reddish-brown, as a rule, though sometimes dark brown or even black—that of the orang is reddish-brown, though sometimes dark, with the beard occasionally dark yellow—that of the gibbon is usually a glossy black. While it is true that the lower races in Huxley's classification have been marked by black hair and that the hair of the apes is as to some species dark and as to others reddish, yet it is significant that the differ-