The New International Encyclopædia/Ethnology

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Edition of 1905.  See also Ethnology on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

ETHNOLOGY (from Gk. ἔθνος, ethnos, people + -λογία, -logia, account, from λέγειν, legein, to say). That branch of anthropology which treats of races and peoples, the natural and artificial divisions of the human species. The ethnologist investigates the natural history, psychology, industries, fine arts, language, sociology, knowledge, lore, and religion of single peoples, and adopts the comparative method among peoples to determine their origin and the sources of their culture. Beginning with man, this branch of science aims to find out the origin of the species, and also whether there is one or many species of the genus homo. Two views are held on this question: (1) there are several independent species of this genus; (2) there is but one species — the former view is called polygenism, the latter monogenism. It is much more probable that the human genus has one species with two or more subspecies, and these give rise to varieties or races.

The relation of environment — its atmosphere, its geosphere, and its hydrosphere, under the stimulus of the sun — to the human genus in producing varieties is another ethnological problem of vast moment. This opens up the entire question of classific concepts, stature, shape of head, color of skin and eyes, texture and color of the hair, intellectual qualities, and moral attributes. A biological question of greatest importance in this connection is that of the mixing of the races, its fruitfulness and results.

Ethnology, in dealing with the manifold activities of life, asks whether a given apparatus, or process, or production, found in peoples wide apart, had its origin in each independently by reason of a common humanity, or whether anciently there was commercial contact or perhaps blood connection. Hence springs up the inquiry about the antiquity and routes of migrations over the continents. All the trades, metric systems, mechanical devices, utensils, and the money or the medium of exchange in one people have their counterparts with other peoples. The common industries all culminate in fine art, and the relation of aesthetic methods and results to race or people suggests many puzzling questions. In ceramic and stone work, textiles, music, and etiquette, there are differences from race to race, but also startling resemblances, and these all lead the inquirer to ethnological studies.

One of the most important classific concepts of ethnology is speech, so that mankind have long been divided into families by their methods of expressing their minds. Languages and dialects each having a name have been classified for all the continents. The magnitude of the debt of the ethnologist to the comparative linguist is evident from the fact that most so-called ethnological atlases have a linguistic basis.

Another culture concept is derived from association of human beings in the ends of life. Its full consideration would lead to sociology in its widest sense. Here only ethnic sociology is in mind — the family among peoples, coöperative endeavor among peoples, government, custom, education, and charity among peoples. Here monogamy prevails, there polygamy, and in Australia a woman is the assigned wife of one man and the accessory wife of his clan brothers. Here is a vast empire, there a tribe, and all culture grades of the past surviving in the present — the state of savagery, stage of maternal kinship; the state of barbarism, stage of paternal kinship; state of civilization, stage of territorial law; state of enlightenment, stage of citizenship.

Again, the science of comparative religion has a place for ethnology. After defining its terms, tracing each element of creed and cult to its logical sources, ethnology attempts to solve the problem how the white races, the brown races, the black races treat these themes. For example, taking the Greek pantheon as the climax of polytheism, the task is to find the corresponding notion to each of its gods and ceremonies among the Teutonic, Celtic, and Mediterranean peoples, and passing outward and downward even to the lowest races, to account for many absurdities in the higher religions.

Most conscientious efforts have been made to arrive at a thoroughly scientific classification of mankind. In point of fact the naming of animal species becomes more difficult as the number of specimens examined increases. The history of the earlier efforts will be found in Topinard; a few of the latest are here given to make the series complete. Great care has to be exercised not to confound blood with speech, arts, social structure, or any other concept.

J. F. Blumenbach (1752-1840), on purely natural history characteristics, made five sub-species, varieties, or types of mankind: Caucasian, Mongolian, Ethiopian, Malay, and American. These have been further reduced in number by de Quatrefages to the three subspecies: Caucasian, or white trunk, 700,000,000; Mongolian, or yellow trunk (Mongol, Malay, American), 650,000,000; Negroid, or Ethiopian trunk, 230,000,000 — total mankind, 1,580,000,000. Friedrich Müller took the texture of the hair as his chief concept, making two divisions of mankind: Smooth Hair (Schlichthaarige) and Woolly Hair (Wollhaarige); and four subdivisions: Wavy hair (Lockenhaarige), Mediterranean, Nubian and Dravidian race; Straight hair (Straff-haarige), Mongolian, Malayan, American, Hyperborean, and Australian race; Woolly hair (Büschelhaarige), Kaffirs and African Negro race; Tufted hair (Vliesshaarige), Papuan and Hottentot race.

Huxley used this concept under two divisions: Leiotriches, or smooth hair, and Ulotriches, or woolly hair. Of the former are (1) Australoids; (2) Mongoloids; (3) Xanthochroi (blonds), and Melanochroi (brunettes); all the remainder of mankind are woolly-haired.

Haeckel, who was a polygenist, adopted Müller's four main divisions, based on the character of the hair, making 12 species and 37 races.

The tendency of late years is to classify the species on anatomical characters, using stature and cranial measurements aided by anthropometric data gathered from the living. Topinard adopts the nasal index; Flower, the jaw; Welcker and many others, the ratio of the width to the length of the skull, which is found by multiplying the width by 100 and dividing by the length, so that

width × 100  =


cranial index of the skull, or cephalic index in the case of the living.

Yellow skin, steatopygous, short stature, dolichocephalic. Bushmen (sub-races Hottentots and Bushmen).
Dark skin  Reddish-brown, very short stature, sub-brachycephalic or sub-dolichocephalic. Negrito (sub-races Negrillo and Negrito).
Black, stature tall, dolichocephalic. Negro (sub-races Nigritian and Bantu).
Brownish-black, medium stature, dolichocephalic. Melanesian (sub-races Papuan and Melanesian).

Dark skin  Reddish-brown, narrow nose, tall stature, dolichocephalic. Ethiopian.
Chocolate-brown, broad nose, medium stature, dolichocephalic. Australian.
Brownish-black, broad or narrow nose, short stature, dolichocephalic. Dravidian (sub-races Platyrhine and Leptorhine).
Skin of a tawny white, nose narrow, hooked, with thick top, brachycephalic. Assyrioid.

Clear brown skin, black hair, narrow, straight or convex nose, tall stature, dolichocephalic. Indo-Afghan.
white skin,
Aquiline nose, prominent occiput, dolichocephalic, elliptical form of face. Arab or Semite.
Straight, coarse nose, dolichocephalic, square face. Berber (4 sub-races).
Straight, fine nose, mesocephalic, oval face. Littoral European.
Short stature, dolichocephalic. Ibero-insular.
Dull white skin, 
brown hair 
Short, stature, strongly brachycephalic, round face. Western European.
Tall stature, brachycephalic, elongated face. Adriatic.

Somewhat wavy, reddish; tall stature, dolichocephalic. Northern European.
Somewhat straight, flaxen haired, short stature, sub-brachycephalic. Eastern European.

Light brown skin, very hairy body, broad and concave nose, dotichocephalic. Ainu.
Yellow skin,
smooth body
Prominent nose, sometime convex, tall stature, elliptical form of face, brachy- or meso-cephalic. Polynesian.
Short stature, flattened, sometimes concave, nose, projecting cheek-bones, lozenge-shaped face, dolichocephalic. Indonesian.
Short stature, prominent, straight or concave nose, meso or dolicho-cephalic. South American (sub-races Paleo-American and South American).

or aquiline
Tall stature, meso-cephalic. North American (sub-races Atlantic and Pacific).
Short stature, brachycephalic. Central American.
Straight nose, tall stature, brachycephalic, square face. Patagonian.
Brownish-yellow skin, short stature, round flattened face, dolichocephalic. Eskimo.
Turned-up nose, short stature, brachycephalic. Lapp.
Straight or concave nose, short stature, meso- or dolicho-cephalic, projecting cheek-bones. Ugrian (sub-races Ugrian and Yenisian).
Straight nose, medium stature, strongly brachycephalic. Turkish or Turco-Tatar.
Pale yellow skin, projecting cheek-bones, Mongoloid eye, slightly brachycephalic. Mongol (sub-races Northern and Southern).

Consult: Deniker, The Races of Man (London, 1900); also Keane, Ethnology (Cambridge, 1896), where the family tree of the Hominidæ is worked out. The schemes of Brinton, Friedrich Müller, de Quatrefages, Topinard, Haeckel, Flower, and Kollman, will be found in the summaries of “Progress in Anthropology,” published in the Smithsonian Reports from 1880 to 1891.

The latest classification published is Deniker's, who makes 29 races and sub-races of man in 5 main divisions: (A) Woolly hair, broad nose; (B) Curly, or wavy hair; (C) Wavy brown or black hair, dark eyes; (D) Fair, wavy, or straight hair, light eyes; (E) Straight or wavy hair, dark, black eyes; (F) Straight hair.

(1)  Bushmen (Hottentot and Bushmen sub-races).
(2)  Negrito (Negrillo and Negrito sub-races).
(3)  Negro (Nigritian and Bantu sub-races).
(4)  Melanesian (Papuan and Melanesian sub-races).
(5)  Ethiopian.
(6)  Australian.
(7)  Dravidian (Platyrhine and Leptorhine sub-races).
(8)  Assyrioid.
(9)  Indo-Afghan.
(10)  Arab or Semite.
(11)  Berber (4 sub-races).
(12)  Littoral European.
(13)  Ibero-Insular.
(14)  Western European.
(15)  Adriatic.
(16)  Northern European.
(17)  Eastern European.
(18)  Ainu.
(19)  Polynesian.
(20)  Indonesian.
(21)  South American (Paleo-American and South American sub-races).
(22)  North American (Atlantic and Pacific sub-races).
(23)  Central American.
(24)  Patagonian.
(25)  Eskimo.
(26)  Lapp.
(27)  Ugrian (Ugrian and Yeneseian sub-races).
(28)  Turkish or Turco-Tatar.
(29)  Mongol (Northern and Southern sub-races).

The standard authorities on classification by physical characteristics are the following: Thomas H. Huxley, “Geographical Distribution of the Chief Modifications of Mankind,” in Journal of the Ethnological Society (London, 1870); Friedrich Müller, Allgemeine Ethnographie (Wien, 1879); Hermann Weleker, Die Capacität und die drei Hauptmessungen der Schädel-Kapsel (Archiv für Anthrop., vol. xxi., 1886); William H. Flower, Classification of the Varieties of the Human Species; A. de Quatrefages de Brun, Histoire générale des races humaines (Paris, 1889); Ernest H. Haeckel, Anthropogenie (Leipzig, 1891); A. H. Keane, Man: Past and Present (Cambridge, 1899); J. Deniker, The Races of Man, (London, 1900).