First, let’s look at skulls from different races of man. Although no two skulls are identical, here are skulls that are typical of the races; first an Asian skull (Figure 9-1) and a Caucasian skull. (Figure 9-2). 1
|Figure 9-1||Figure 9-2|
Overall, the dome of the Asian skull is round and the face is flat. 2 Although the Caucasian skull is a bit longer (top to bottom), it is very similar to the Asian skull, indicating that the Asians and Caucasians did not separate into two races all that long ago, or that there was interbreeding between their lineages.
Figure 9-3 shows a male African-American skull. 3 Although this skull is described as being of an African-American, it has many African features. (The drawing of the “Negro” skull in Figure 9-9 may better epitomize the Congoid skull.)
The African skull is quite different from the Asian and Caucasian skulls, indicating a much greater genetic distance between Eurasians and Africans than between Europeans and Asians. Compared to Asian and Caucasian skulls, the African skull is narrower. The bones of the skull (and the rest of the body) are denser and thicker. The eye sockets are rounder and proportionately larger and the distance between them is greater. The slight bump at the top of the head suggests a “saggital keel,” a ridge along the top of the head from the forehead to the back of the skull for attaching chewing muscles and strengthening the skull from blows received in fighting. 4 The opening for the nose is wider, the nose bones protrude less, and the teeth more massive, with the incisors meeting at an angle (also see Figure 26-11).
The most noticeable difference, however, is the protruding jaw, a condition known as “prognathism,” a trait found in apes and in ancient human fossil skulls, even those not from Africa. The considerable gap between the cheekbones (“zygomatic arches”) and the indentation on the sides behind the eye sockets (“post-orbital constriction”) indicate that the more massive jaw was serviced by powerful chewing muscles that passed through the gap. Figures 9-4 and 9-5 provide a side-by side comparison of the skulls of an African of the Manbettu tribe in the northern Congo basin and an Englishman. 5 The African skull has less prominent nose bones and chin, a deeper jaw and the bone that supports the jaw (the “ascending ramus”) is wider; the shape of the skulls is also different.
|Figure 9-4||Figure 9-5|
Table 9-1 lists a number of the more significant hard tissue traits that differ between the races, including a few in Australian aborigines (AA), Homo erectus (He), Neanderthals (Hn), chimpanzees (C), and gorillas (G). A hyphen indicates no data and the notes after the table explain the differences more fully.
|Trait||Asians||Europeans||Africans||AA, He, Hn, C, & G|
|Endocranial Volume 6|
|1491 cc||1441 cc||1338 cc||AA: 1290 cc|
He: 1000-1200 cc
C: 500 cc
|Cranial bones (1)||Thinner and lighter (gracile)||Thin and light (less gracile)||Thick and dense (robust)||AA&He: Thickest and densest|
|Cranial sutures (2)||Complex||Complex||Simpler||He: Simpler|
|Permanently unclosed sutures (3)||1/13||1/7||1/52||-|
(Cephalic Index) (4)
|>80 (brachycephalic)||<80 & >75 (mesocephalic)||<75 (dolichocephalic)||AA: 71 – 71.5|
|Saggital keel (5)||Usually absent||Usually absent||Sometimes present||AA&He: Present|
|Occipital bun (6)||Absent||Some individuals||Some tribes||Hn: Present|
|Post-orbital constriction (7)||Average||Average||Larger||AA & He: Pronounced|
|Cheek bones (8)||Projecting||Average||Slightly projecting||-|
|Foramen magnum (9)||Center||Center||Farther back||-|
|Forehead||High||High||Less high||AA&E;: Sloped|
C&G;: very sloped
|Brow ridge (10)||Small (except some Japanese men)||Medium||Small||AA: Prominent|
|Eye sockets (11)||Almost round,||slightly sloped, small||Rectangular, slightly sloped, small Square or rectangular, larger, and farther apart||AA: Rectangular |
C: Round and large
|Nasal Index & shape (12)||48-53 Oval||<48 Tear-shaped||>53 Rounded, wide||He: Rounded, wide|
|Nasal Prominence (13)||Average||More||Less||He: Less|
|Two nose bones||-||Not joined||Sometimes joined||G: Joined (Duckworth, 1895, p. 338).|
|Prognathism (14)||Little||Little||Pronounced||AA & He: More pronounced|
|Facial angle (15)||-||80-82°||68-70°||G: 50°|
|Chin (16)||Slightly projecting||Prominent and projecting||Slight and rounded||AA: Receding|
He: Smaller and rounded
|Simian shelf (17)||No||Rare||Vestige||C & G: Yes|
Hn: Half size
He: Little or none
|Palate shape||Parabolic or horseshoe-shaped||Triangular||Rectangular||He: Rectangular|
|Teeth (18)||Medium||Smaller||Larger, wider apart||He: Large, wide apart|
|Shoveled upper incisors (19)||Present||Rare||Only Bushmen||In Asian He and a few African He|
|Spine shape (20)||Three curves||Three curves||Less curved||C: One curve|
|Pelvic girth (21)||-||33 inches||26½ inches||-|
|Sacral Index (22)||-||Male: 102.9|
|Arms and legs (23)||Arms: shorter|
|Heel Bone (24)||Short||Medium||Long||-|
(1) At birth, Africans have fewer cranial bones than Eurasians. 7 The skull bones (and other bones) in Africans (Schnitzler, 1993) and erectus are thicker and denser (higher mineral content; Ettinger, 1997; Hui, 2003; Pollitizer, 1989), even in the fetus, making them more difficult to break, which is an aid in head butting and fighting as blows to the head can easily be fatal. (Broca, 1858, cited in Rushton, 2000a, p. 106). Some anthropologists believe skulls got thicker about 1.6 to 1.8 million ya when erectus developed clubs as weapons, resulting in more cracked skulls. (Wrangham, 1996; Schulting, 2002). “Herodotus … described how easily, in comparison to an Egyptian’s skull, a Persian’s skull cracked.” (Schwartz, 1999, p. 48; Egyptians had interbred with Africans by that time.) Denser bones (and less fat) make Africans less buoyant and less capable swimmers, 8 but reduce their susceptibility to osteoporosis. Female bones are lighter than male bones.
(2) (Cull, 1850). The cranial sutures are the zigzag lines where the bones that form the skull cap join together. Less complex sutures may be due to an earlier fusion of the cranial bones.
(3) The unclosed sutures are the proportion of the total number of intersecting sutures at the top of the skull that are permanently unclosed. Unclosed sutures permit growth of the brain. An example is the retention of the metopic suture in adult Caucasians, but not adult Africans. (Figure 9-6).
| Black White Mongol|
(4) The numbers are the cephalic index, which is equal to 100 times the width of the head divided by its length. (Baker, 1974). The long, narrow skull of the Africans (dolichocephalic) loses heat the fastest and the more spherical skull of the Asians (brachycephalic) better retains heat. (Boyd, 1955). Compare these black, white, and Northeast Asian (Mongol) skulls (Figure 9-7) drawn by (Morton, 1839). The black skull is more simian as it is long and narrow. The white and Mongol skulls are rounder and about the same size, but the cheek bones flair out more on the Mongol skull. There is a correlation of 0.37 between cranial capacity and the cephalic index, i.e., the long, narrow skulls of Africans have a smaller cranial capacity. (Beals, 1984).
Figure 9-8 is a tree showing the linkage between living human populations based on 57 measurements of male skulls. (DeAnza College, CA). The African skulls are very different from the skulls of all the other populations, even the Australian aborigines. Figure 9-9 show a Negro skull profile superimposed upon a European skull profile. 9) The Negro skull is smaller, with less space in the forehead, but proportionately more at the back. (Hunt, 1864, p. 8).
|Figure 9-8||Figure 9-9||Figure 9-10||Figure 9-11|
(5) Notice the slight saggital keel (or crest) at the top of the head in the Homo habilis skull (Figure 9-10, 10) and in the picture of killer James Ealy (Figure 9-11). (Also see Fig. 9-17, 10-7, & 16-6.)
|Figure 9-12||Figure 9-13|
(6) The occipital bun (Figure 9-12) 11 is a bulge at the back of the skull, where the brain processes visual information. Georgicus, antecessor, Peking man (Figure 17-7b), Junniushan (Figure 17-9), and the Neanderthals had occipital buns and Heidi, too, may have had it. “They [occipital buns] do however occur fairly often among Australids [Australian aborigines], Khoisanids [Hottentots, Bushmen - see Chap. 26], and Lappids [Lapps (Sami) in Finland], and, interestingly, among inhabitants of Lancashire, UK.” 12
Although the purpose of the occipital bun is not clear, it is associated most with the Neanderthals.
Some African skulls are also characterized by a “dent” (“post bregmatic depression”) in the top of the skull visible from the side. (Figure 9-13). 13 This “dent” is also seen the Hobbit skull, Figure 17-11 and some erectus skulls; note that even the otherwise-modern English skull in Figure 9-5 has a dent. It is a primitive feature that may be tied to important changes in the growth of the brain. (Coqueugniot, 2004; Figure 14-2) .
(7) A post-orbital constriction is a pinching of the skull just behind the eye sockets. It allows more room for large chewing muscles, but indicates a smaller forebrain, the center of planning and abstract thought. Figure 9-14 shows a chimpanzee skull, and Figures 9-15 and 9-16 show, respectively, the skulls of a recently-deceased Australian aborigine and a Caucasian. (Also see Fig., 17-2, p. 145).
(8) Referring to Figure 9-17, the cheek bones (“zygomatic arches”) extend outward the least in Caucasians, the most in Asians, and in between in Africans. (Beyers, 2007).
(9) The foramen magnum (“big hole,” aka “occipital foramen”) is the opening in the base of the skull through which the spinal chord exits the skull. The head is positioned on the spinal chord so that the eyes see horizontally to the ground. Because we walk upright, our spinal cord is vertical so it enters directly underneath the skull.
Chimpanzees and gorillas walk on knuckles with long arms and short legs, and their spinal cord is at an angle and enters farther to the back of the skull. Monkeys walk on four legs and their spinal cord is nearly horizontal and enters at the rear of the skull. In Figure 9-18, the foramen magnum is the large black hole. 14
Table 9-2 gives the results of measurements of the position of the foramen magnum in primates: 15
|Maximum (%)||Mean (%)||Minimum (%)||Range|
(Max. – Min.)
|N. Am. Indians||45||47.8||40.9||34.8||13.0|
Table 9-2 shows that the foramen magnum is farthest to the front in whites and farthest to the back in adult chimpanzees. The foramen magnum in Australopithecus is “located near the center of the skull base [i.e., not including the jaw], as far from the rear as in some human races” (Coon, 1962, p. 258); it is even farther to the front in erectus and, in living people, it is farthest to the front in the “Romano-British.” 16 Note that in the young gorilla and chimpanzees the foramen magnum is closer to the human range; thus, neoteny assists bipedalism by moving the foramen magnum towards the front. (Luboga, 1990) Although the Neanderthal is not listed Table 9-2, their foramen magnum is also “a little to the back.” (Howells, 1948, p. 167). In Table 9-2 the Negro foramen magnum is only slightly farther to the rear. 17
(10) The brow ridges (“supraorbital ridges”) are boney ridges over the eyes which strengthen the skull and protect the eyes during fighting. They are needed when the teeth are large, the jaws heavy, and the chewing muscles strong, characteristics of populations that eat mostly vegetable matter. Once man learned to hunt, control fire, and cook his food, large chewing muscles were no longer needed and brow ridges diminished. (See photos in Chap. 2).
(11) East Asians have the roundest eye sockets and Australian aborigines have the most rectangular.18 Neanderthal orbits are also round (Fig. 2-6 & 2-7) but African and European orbits are square or rectangular; European orbits slope more. Racial differences in eye sockets are not large and overlap due to intermixing. Except for the Neanderthals, the size of eye sockets, and therefore the size of the eyes, decreases slightly in the colder climates, which may be an adaptation to cold weather to help reduce exposure of the eyes. The eyes of blacks are also farther apart, as can be seen by comparing a “Black” skull (Figure 9-19, probably African American) to the front view of a Caucasian skull in Figure 9-20.
|Figure 9-19 ("Black")||Figure 9-20 (Caucasian)|
(12) Nasal prominence is a measurement of how far the nasal bones extend from the face. Figure 9-21 shows the distribution of nasal prominences in African and European skulls. (Howells, 1989). The curves that connects the bars show that Africans and Europeans have different means, with the European nasal bones being more prominent (Figure 9-21). The nostrils in Africans open higher on the face, closer to the eyes, but not as far as in apes. (Cartwright, 1857, p. 46). S-S Africans have “very flat nasal bones.” (Hanihara, 2000).
(13) The nasal index is 100 times the width of the nasal cavity divided by its breadth. The nasal cavity is short and wide in Africans and long and narrow in Asians and Caucasians, but larger in Caucasians. The shape of the nasal cavity also differs between the races (Figure 9-17).
The difference between Eurasians and Africans in their nasal spines is dramatic. The anterior nasal spine is a small bone that extends outward from the middle of the base of the nasal cavity; it supports a nose that protrudes. The nasal spine is prominent in Caucasians (Figures 9-2, 9-5, 9-20, & 9-22), less so in Asians (Figure 9-1) and small or absent in Africans and African Americans (Figures 9-4 & 9-23). (Beyers, 2007). The race of a skull can be determined by placing a pen across the base of the nasal cavity. If the pen is held in place by the nasal spine, the skull is Caucasian; if it rolls off, the skull is African; chimpanzees and gorillas also lack a true anterior nasal spine. (Mooney, 2005, & Duckworth, 1895, p. 338).
|Figure 9-22 (Caucasian) Figure 9-23 (African)|
In addition to the nasal spine, the base of the front of the nasal cavity also differs between the races. Referring to the arrows, in Caucasians (Figure 9-22), there is a sharp ridge along the edge of the base, in Asians the top of the ridge is rounded, and in Africans (Figure 9-23) there is no ridge. (Also see Figure 9-19, “Guttered Nasal Border.”)
(14) Simian prognathism (a protruding jaw with a recessed nose) is a very primitive trait that is characteristic of apes. A jutting jaw is needed if the teeth are large, plus it is an advantage in fighting as it permits a bigger bite and makes the eyes less vulnerable. (Howells, 1959, p. 125). One is reminded of the 1997 title fight in Los Vegas where Mike Tyson bit a piece out of the ear of WBA champ Evander Holyfield.
(18) In Eurasians, the upper teeth usually overlap the lower incisors, but in Africans the upper incisors are mounted in the jaw at an angle and project forward so that they meet the lower at an angle. (Figures 9-3 & 9-4; in Figure 9-27, the gorilla’s teeth meet at an even greater angle.) African teeth are more primitive than Eurasian teeth and there are many other differences in their structures. (Irish, 1998 & 2003; Edgar, 2005; Chap. 16, FN 9).
(19) A “shoveled” incisor (Figure 9-29) is an upper front tooth that has ridges reinforcing its two back vertical edges to resist back-to-front forces. This means that shoveled incisors were once used for another purpose in addition to cutting food, such as scraping objects (see wear in Figure 9-30).
The scraping must have been vital to survival and broken incisors must have made survival less likely. Otherwise, shelved incisors would not be so widespread among Asians today. Northern Europeans also frequently have moderate shoveling, possibly derived from the Neanderthal lineage. (Chap. 25). Because shoveled incisors first appeared about 2 mya, whatever the activity was, it was done by erectus or an earlier hominoid, and later generations are only gradually losing the trait as tools are used instead of teeth. Shoveled incisors may have initially been used in the Asian tropics to form points on bamboo spears, 22 then later proved useful in the north for scraping and softening animal skins. 23 Asians also have single-rooted upper first premolars and triple-rooted lower first molars.
(20) The neck of Africans (i.e., Congoids) is described as shorter and thicker, but some Africans from other parts of Africa have long, slender necks. 24
(21) A larger diameter pelvis will be selected for if baby head size, and therefore brain size, increases. Africans, with the smallest skulls, also have the smallest pelvis and give birth more easily. Pelvic measurements can be used not only to distinguish males from females, but even American white males from American black males, with about 75% accuracy. (Iscan, 1983).
(22) The sacral index is the breadth of the sacrum (the five fused vertebrae that are connected to the pelvis) as a percentage of its length. (Hanson, 1998). Walking upright increased the sacral index, enabling the sacrum to better support the internal organs, so a low sacral index is more primitive and a high sacral index is more modern. Table 9-3 gives sacral indices from Turner and Borst.
(F minus M)**
|*Asian aborigines from the Andaman Islands, east of India in the Bengal Sea.|
** Female value minus male value.
|Gibbon Gorilla Chimpanzee Orangutan Man|
Table of Contents
1. Figure 9-2 is a picture of a skull sold by Fossils.com. Back
2. A “flat face” means that the center of the face does not extend much farther forward than the cheekbones. (Coon, 1962, pp. 364-369). A simple test to see if a skull is Asian is to place it face down on a table. If it rests on the cheekbones and doesn’t rock because the nose doesn’t touch the table, it is probably an Asian. East Asians have very flat faces. (Hanihara, 2000). Back
3. The replica shown in Figure 9-3 is sold by France Castings. Back
4. “Early Neolithic Britons had a one in 20 chance of suffering a skull fracture at the hands of someone else and a one in 50 chance of dying from their injuries. “ (Young, 2006). That was probably true elsewhere on the planet as well and even more true at earlier times. Back
5. (Johnston, 1910, pp. 13 & 15). The skulls have been rotated so that a line passes between their back molars to the base of their skulls. Back
6. Male only, home continent and U.S., not corrected for body size. (Rushton, 2000a, p. 283, from Beals, 1984: AA from (Baker, 1974), p. 279). White children have larger heads than black children, even though black children are taller. (Rushton, 2000a, pp. 40-41). Back
7. “The white infant comes into the world with its brain enclosed by fifteen disunited bony plates – the occipital bone being divided into four parts, the sphenoid into three, the frontal into two, each of the two temporals into two, which, with the two parietals, make fifteen plates in all – the vomer and ethmoid not being ossified at birth. … The negro infant, however, is born with a small, hard, smooth, round head like a gourd. Instead of the frontal and temporal bones being divided into six plates, as in the white child, they form but one bone in the negro infant.” (Cartwright, 1857, p. 45). Back
8. (Ama, 1997). “Black children are 2½ times more likely to drown than white kids.” (Park, D., Chicago Sun Times, June 22, 2007). Fewer blacks are in the Navy SEALs or win medals in Olympic swimming and diving events. Back
9. From (Pierce, R.V., The People's Common Sense Medical Adviser in Plain English: or, Medicine Simplified, 1895). Back
10. Figure 9-10 is a reproduction of KNM-ER 1813, available from The Evolution Store, NYC, NY. Saggital keels can be found in herbivores that require powerful muscles to grind up plant matter, e.g., the gorilla, and carnivores that need a powerful bite to kill larger prey, e.g., the bobcat. (Nickens, T.E., "Survivor," National Wildlife, Aug.-Sept., 2008). Back
11. (“An Introduction to and anatomical evidence supporting Neanderthal introgression (Part 1),” Anthropology.net, Nov. 14, 2006). Back
12. (SNPA Glossary of Physical Anthropological Terms [http://www.snpa.nordish.net/glossary.htm (no longer available)]; also Baker, 1974, p. 279). Back
13. From (Rhine, 1990). Back
14. (McKie, 2000, p. 19). Back
15. (Wyman, 1896). The distance from the front of the foramen magnum to the back of the head was divided by the distance from the front of the head to the back of the head, and expressed as a percentage in Table 9-2. The “front of the head” was a hole (“alveoli”) in the upper jaw, not the end of the jaw. This may be why the North American Indian’s foramen magnum is farther to the back than is the Negro’s. Had the “front” been the front of the jaw, the position would have been farthest back in the Africans. Also, “Negro” is probably African American, not African. (Broca, 1858, cited by (Rushton, 2000a, p. 106; Coon, 1962, p. 258; Cartwright, 1857, p. 46; Johnson, D.R., "Retardation and neoteny in human evolution"; Burmeister, 1853). Back
16. (Luboga, 1990). Later in this book, it is suggested that man may have had no quadrupedal ancestors; if true, the position of the foremen magnum would be in the center for all human populations, except for populations whose ancestors had interbred with a quadrupedal ape. There was interbreeding between the chimpanzee lineage and the human lineage and although today chimpanzees live only in Africa, their ancestors may have lived in Eurasia and the interbreeding may have occurred there instead of in Africa. (Patterson, 2006; Arnold, 2006). “The close resemblance in DNA structure between humans and chimpanzees even suggests that a hybrid species would be viable – a chastening thought.” (Corballis, 1991, p. 35, citing Lovejoy, 1981). Back
17. “The occipital foremen [foramen magnum], giving exit to the spinal cord, is a third longer [in the African] says Cuvier, in proportion to its breadth, than in the Caucasian, and is so oblique as to form an angle of 30°with the horizon, yet not so oblique as in the simiadiae [apes], …” (Cartwright, 1857). Back
18. Note the small nasal spine in the African American skull (Figure 9-3), which is absent in the African skull (Figure 9-4). Back
19. (Ferguson, 1989; Curnoe, 2006). “… the Negro thus has a facial angle generally between 70 and 75 degrees, occasionally only 65 degrees.” (Hunt, 1865). Back
20. (O’Flaherty, B. & Shapiro, J.S., “Apes, Essences, and Races: What Natural Scientists Believed about Human Variation, 1700 – 1900,” Columbia University, Mar., 2002). Back
21. “This angle is now understood to be primarily related to the development of the frontal part of the brain …” (Ferguson, 1989). Back
22. Chimpanzees have been found to make spears and sharpen them with their teeth. (New Scientist, Mar. 3-9, p. 16). Back
23. “Neandertals had unusually robust anterior [front] teeth that were worn down in a distinctive manner, suggestive of their use in the preparation of hides.” “The Cultural Modification of Teeth.” Also (Hoffecker, 2002, p. 60). Back
24. (Burmeister, 1853; Hunt, 1864, p. 7). A more muscular neck is consistent with a foramen magnum that is farther to the back. (Johnson, D.R., "Retardation and neoteny in human evolution"). Back
25. “… some races seem more arboreally constituted than others.” (Coon, 1962, p. 154). Back
26. Referring to H. habilis: “Moreover, the arms are long relative to the legs, a characteristic that is more ape-like than human.” (Corballis, 1991, pp. 39-40). Back
27. The explanation is probably Allen’s Rule, that shorter limbs are selected in colder climates; legs in humans, however, got longer than ape legs due to our bipedalism. Back
28. The reason for this peculiarity is that Hox genes, which control differentiation of the digits, are expressed more in the gonads. Back
29. (Burmeister, 1853; see Fig. 4-1). “Darwin pointed to the foot of some ‘savages’ as still retaining some of the prehensility [grasping] characteristic of the ape foot.” (Schwartz, 1999, p. 160). Back