(Chapter VIII, section 5)
(c) Pigmentation, the Pilous System, and Morphology of the Soft Parts
The fourth and last of the general distribution maps (Map 8), is designed to show the distribution of progressive degrees of blondism in the European area. While data on hair and eye color are plentiful, much material has been collected without the use of scales; although it is possible to correlate this with standard material in most major areas, the judgment of the compiler nevertheless plays a greater part here than in the maps which show the distributions of purely metrical characters. Under these circumstances, it has seemed most useful to divide the existing materials into five broad classes, designated and distributed as follows.
The darkest stippling represents populations in which the hair is consistently black or dark brown (distinctions between these two shades are seldom valid), with less than ten per cent of a lighter hue. The accompanying eye color found in this brunet class is pure brown or black in over sixty per cent of the series; in most cases over eighty. Since all brunet white populations studied show some degree of mixed eyes22 (green, blue, or gray in conjunction with brown), a small minority of this type seems endemic in the white racial stock, and must not be construed as evidence of racial blondism. Skin color, which again is an important element in blondism, varies less among Europeans than do either hair or eye color, and is more difficult to use. Hence it has been omitted from consideration in the draughting of the pigment map.
The brunet hair and eye condition defined above, including a minimum of blondism, surrounds Europe and encroaches on all its borders, not excluding the Atlantic. North Africa, almost all of Asia on or off the map, Portugal, most of Spain, southern Italy, Greece, the Aegean fringes, and finally, the northern pastures of the Samoyeds, converge to encircle the world's one important nucleus of blondism.
The second most heavily stippled zone shown on the map, that of prevailingly brunet pigmentation, covers regions in which complete or partial blondism is not rare, but is definitely less common than a purely brunet condition. The width of this zone depends, of course, upon the latitude of the category assumed by the author. In the present map, it is relatively narrow, and includes central and northern Spain, central Italy, most of the Balkans, the Caucasus, and a narrow vertical belt in eastern Russia. The Lapps, in their purest discoverable form, seem to fit into this class rather than the purely brunet one. Islands of prevailingly brunet pigmentation occur far afield from the main zone, in parts of Wales, in
Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, in Crete, in the Jebel Druz, and in Luristan. The reasons for these exceptions are different in almost each case, and must be treated separately later.
The decision as to the midpoint between blond and brunet hair and eye pigmentation hinges largely on one's definition of pure blondism. For practical purposes, pure eye blondism includes gray and blue eyes, wit or without a small number of pigmented spots, or a narrow pigmented ring, near the pupillary border of the iris. It is impossible to segregate the spotted and unspotted in most data. Pure hair blondism includes, in the same arbitrary fashion, hair that ranges from light brown to ashen or golden. In the present map the intermediate class represents regional samples in which light and light mixed forms seem approximately equal to those which are prevailingly brunet.
This intermediate zone is again narrow, and again continues the general scheme of concentricity. An exception to this scheme is seen among the Ostiaks, a Finnish group living along the banks of the Obi River and its western tributaries. Bulgars and Vlachs possess more blondism than a class four stipple would show, but hardly enough for the intermediate class when taken en masse. Therefore three capsules of intermediate stippling in the Balkans indicate these tendencies in a schematic manner. The northernmost and the southwesternmost represent concentrations of Vlachs, the middle one of Bulgars.
Walloons of the province of Luxembourg, and southeastern Bavarian mountaineers, conversely, represent nuclei of intermediate pigmentation in blonder territory. One may postulate without difficulty that the Bavarian nucleus was once continuous with northern Italy through the Tyrol, for many Tyrolese are quite brunet, but the continuity has been broken by the Germanic advance in historic times up the Innthal. The refuge quality of the Austrian as well as of the Swiss Alps is conversely shown by the survival, since this Germanic thrust, of very blond local populations in the Lechthal and in other small,. isolated valleys. As for the Walloons of Luxembourg they quite palpably represent a survival of pre-Iron Age brachycephals in their highlands, through the period of Celtic and Frankish invasions.
The greatest difficulty of all in compiling this map lay in making the decision between what was predominantly blond, and what was merely more blond than brunet. If the eyes were almost uniformly light or light mixed, and the hair light brown or lighter in over fifty per cent of cases, the lightest group seemed indicated; if, in a majority of cases, the hair was dark or medium brown, or the eyes mixed, the second class was chosen. Sometimes both hair and eyes indicated the second lightest stipple. In the predominantly blond class, pure brunet pigmentation is less than ten per cent.
The greatest degree of blondism recognized is definitely nuclear and, in fact, almost glacial in its distribution. There is, however, a nucleus within a nucleus; a center of lesser blondism which seems truly hypermarginal. This is the partial blondism of the Danish islands, of parts of the Norwegian coast, of Iceland, and of the southwestern tip of Ireland. This inner nucleus apparently coincides with the survival of the oldest, immediately post-glacial population.
It is not unlikely that the original undifferentiated sapiens men, living in the Pleistocene, may have possessed a light brown or brunet white skin color, with black or dark brown hair and brown eyes. Different racial stocks which grew out of this common base by differentiation, mixture, or both, may have shown early tendencies to develop specialized variations of their own in pigmentation. Such tendencies are likewise seen within single species of ape, such as the gibbon, chimpanzee, and gorilla. The negroid races, for example, must. have formed, before the end of the Pleistocene, a progressive tendency toward an abundance of dense pigment cells in the skin, the fundus, and the iris; while the whites, before their dispersal from a common center, must already have developed a tendency, presumably recessive, toward blondism. The universality of some degree of blondism among whites and near whites everywhere makes it unlikely that it was ever confined to a single race or group of races within the White family.
Blondism is a state of partial depigmentation, due to the paucity of melanin granules in the skin, hair, and iris, and, with some types of pigment, to the small size of these granules. The pigment granules are composed of a substance known as melanin, the chemical composition of which has been roughly determined.23 Melanogenesis, the process by which melanin is formed, is "an intercellular enzymic oxidation process, in which an amino acid chromogen is converted, with the aid of catalytic copper, to the pigment melanin."24 It has been proved by experiments with rats and rabbits that a dietary deficiency in copper produces a pigment reduction,25 and that with the restoration of a normal diet, the animal's normal pigmentation will return. Hence blondism, being a phenomenon of pigment reduction, is presumably caused by a genetically controlled limitation of the oxidation process dependent upon the body's supply of copper. Blondism therefore may have originally been motivated as a response to a mineral deficiency through an endocrine agency of control. There is no reason now known why it should be limited to whites, but actually its appearance among members of other major racial groups is rare.
Although skin color is apparently a directly quantitative matter, hair color, it is now known, is determined by two different pigment factors. One is composed of oval or spindle-shaped cells of melanin, of varying size and frequency.26 When these cells are large and overlap, within the translucent body shaft which lies between the central canal and the outer horny layer of the individual hair, the hair appears black or dark brown. When the cells are smaller they appear yellowish or light brownish, although the chemical composition of the melanin is the same. The size of these cells, therefore, and their abundance within the hair cortex, determine the degree of blondism or brunet coloring.
The second pigment factor which influences hair color is rufosity. Red hair contains a fine stain, at first considered amorphous, which is now thought to be composed of extremely fine cells, probably slightly different in molecular structure from ordinary melanin.27 This stain may be present or absent, and if present may be faint or intensive. Thus it is both qualitative and quantitative in reference to ultimate hair color. If it coincides with large, dark melanin cells, the black color so caused may mask the rufosity in all but unusual lights, while if a large amount of it coincides with blondism, red hair is the result. It is likely that golden hair is caused by a combination of blondism with a slight degree of rufosity.
If one could test for rufosity accurately with all pigment shades, it would probably be seen that this character has no association whatever with blondism, but is a purely independent variable. That this is likely is shown by the fact that rufosity is completely uncorrelated with eye color.28 Thus rufosity may be wholly absent in many normal individuals, while the melanin cells are totally absent only in albinos. Rufosity may, by the same token, be lacking in entire races, and with better data it might be possible to discover the racial significance, if any, of this apparently functionless condition. Within the blonder segment of the white race, however, we know that rufosity has a regional and a racial connotation. Blond hair is readily divisible into two categories, golden and ash-blond (cendré), which are distinguished on the Fischer hair color chart. Light brown and brown hair shades similarly may be segregated on the same basis into two separate and parallel classes.
The pigmentation of the iris is more suited for refined analytical study than either skin or hair color. Skin tans and weathers, while hair bleaches with the sun and darkens with advancing age, until the advent of graying; the iris, on the other hand, retains its pigment pattern with relatively little change. If studied under constant light conditions, so that the pupil is contracted and the concentric muscle zones flattened, the iris is seen to be a detailed field of muscle-layers and pigment cells, of considerable complexity.
In all but albinotic eyes, the inner wall of the iris is permeated with melanotic pigment cells so overlapped as to make the iris, whether dilated or contracted, a perfect light-proof diaphragm. It is this pigment lining, reflected through several layers of outer iridical tissue, that gives a light eye its blue appearance. Additional pigment presents its true brown color. Thus in a mixed eye of complex pattern it is possible to plot the relative depths of different groups of pigment cells. Cells concentrated along the radial, dilating muscle fibers give the eye a rayed appearance, while those lumped about the concentric sphincters produce a zoning. In a black eye the surface pigment is so dense that it is impossible to see into the iris, but in a brown eye it is usually possible to make out some of the pattern. Many purely brunet eyes show a contrast between different brown-producing layers.
In purely light eyes, in which no surface pigment is seen, there are nevertheless differences in coloring which are readily noticeable and which may be used as criteria of racial differentiation. The principal distinction is that between the blue eye, which in its extreme form takes a deep sky-blue color, and the gray eye, which in its extreme form is almost white. Since these two forms grade into each other without a natural line of demarcation, the factor which distinguishes them must be considered quantitative rather than qualitative. Research on this subject does not seem as yet to have been done; we do not know what causes this difference, and can only repeat Bryn's speculation that it has something to do with the relative coarseness and opacity of the radial iris muscles, through which the pigment in the posterior walls of the iris is reflected.29
Geographically and in individuals, it is possible to make valid correlations between the four end types of hair and of eye blondism. The golden type of hair, whether blond or brown, tends to be associated with the bluer shades of eye, whether pure light or mixed; on the other hand, the ash blond type of hair usually goes with a grayish iris. At present there seems to be no direct reason for these linkages, but we have much to learn about these matters.
At any rate, when we apply this distinction to the map, we see that the golden-blue combination is commonest in the western half of our nuclear zone of light pigmentation, in Norway and the British Isles; while the ashen-gray combination is more typical of Sweden and of the lands east of the Baltic. In the western half of the blond nucleus, and especially in its British periphery, there is an asymmetry of linkage, for in Ireland, for example, a world's extreme ratio of light eyes is associated with hair which is often brown or dark brown. On the eastern side the opposite is true; in Poland and southern Russia ashen hair of a very light shade goes frequently with dark-mixed or brown eyes. These regional asymmetries weaken the total unity of blondism, but do not destroy it.
From further correlations between types of pigmentation and other characters, such as stature, bodily build, head size, head form, and face form, it is possible to show that the golden-blue variety, with rufosity, is partly associated with the old Palaeolithic hunting strain, while the ashen-gray extreme goes rather with the Iron Age Nordic range of types, and with eastern European blonds of various degrees of superficial mongolism. Within historic times the zone of frequent blondism stretched from north western Europe across the Russian steppes into central Asia where it touched China, but violent and rapid ethnic movements in Asia have nearly eliminated this eastern extension. We do not know how long ago the distribution map of blondism assumed its present concentric and glaciation-like character.
It is very probable that pigmentation is definitely capable of alteration in response to environment, through selection. Blonds in the tropics are at a disadvantage, particularly if living under primitive cultural conditions. A black skin with a profusion of sweat glands, like that of the African negro, must be better than a pinkish integument which is subjected to repeated burning and blistering, and incapable of tanning.30 In the iris, the pigment in the posterior wall acts as a completely light-proof diaphragm, and hence there can be no direct functional disadvantage to a gray or blue iris, as with that of an albino. But since the iris color seems to be, as Wilmer has shown,31 correlated with the pigmentation of the retina, eye blondism may serve to indicate the presence of a functional disadvantage. It is conceivable, but not as yet demonstrable, that the chocolate-brown pigment cells in the negro's fundus may give his optic nerve more comfort in the desert glare than the pinkish, almost pigmentless retina of the blond white man.
Black skin and a black eye, then, may be variables which are advantageous under hot, bright, equatorial light conditions. A partially depigmented skin and fundus condition can perhaps survive without disadvantage only in a climate where the light is weak. Blond hair, however, cannot be assigned any survival value of either a negative or a positive character. Until definite experimental evidence is at hand, we must postulate that only through its partial genetic linkage with skin and eye color is the blondism or darkness of hair determined, On the whole, the totality of evidence in regard to blondism as a unit indicates that this phenomenon is a recessive trait endemic in the white racial stock, and that it has become a major racial character only among groups of people living at one time under light conditions of sub-glacial intensity. This applies to the Upper Palaeolithic strain in part or as a whole, and to certain of the more northerly Mediterranean branches. The mongoloids and American Indians living under parallel conditions apparently lack the initial mutative tendency necessary for its development.
In the European zone of maximum blondism are included tall and short populations, long-headed and round-headed, eagle-beaked and snub-nosed; many such variations occur to which degree of pigmentation seems complacent. Within the two main types of blondism, racial sortings are clearer, but on the whole blondism alone assumes the character of an unlinked mutant.
Without actual maps, there is little use in reviewing the distribution of the pilous system and soft parts, in more than a cursory manner, since these will be discussed at greater length in the chapters to follow. Hair form, which according to Haddon is the most important racial criterion to be found in man, is of little use in distinguishing white sub-groups. Most European hair is straight or slightly wavy, although exceptional individuals in the straightest-haired groups have ringlet forms. Curly hair of this description is quite common in western Ireland and in Wales; it is also frequent in the whole of North Africa and in the western Mediterranean shorelands of Europe. Eastern Europe is predominantly straight haired, and as one approaches mongoloid territory this condition of course becomes more pronounced.
The amount of body hair on the adult male is closely correlated with the amount of beard, and both are linked with age, for a hairy man grows hairier as he becomes older. At the same time, baldness is most frequent among those with heaviest body hair and heaviest beards. Browridges, and other bony excrescences of a hypermasculine nature, are closely linked with excessive pilous development of the body and beard, and with a tendency to baldness. Europeans, on the whole, are among the hairiest-bodied and heaviest-bearded groups of men, being equalled or exceeded only by the Australians and the Ainu. Both negroid and mongoloid skin conditions are inimical to excessive hair development except upon the scalp.
The Mediterranean peoples, on the whole, are less hairy than other Europeans. Pure dolichocephalic Europeans, of normal Mediterranean type, whether blond or brunet, tend to a hairless chest and a patchy beard. Among Arabs a complete beard is rare, and is considered a sign of evil character. One must look upon great hairiness, and a great beard development, as well as a high incidence of baldness, as a multiple endocrine manifestation associated with relatively great sex differentiation in a masculine direction. Alpines and Central Europeans, in general, show an excess of this combination, and so do many Balkan peoples and Near Eastern Asiatics. This combination is in Europe associated with the non-Mediterranean element in the composition of the white stock, although in Asia the cleavage is not so clear. The baldness which is part of this complex is of genetic motivation, and differs in cause from the dry-scalped, fine-haired alopecia associated with extreme hair blondism.
The morphology of the external eye is also subject to regional distribution. High orbits, with no folds, are characteristic of Dinarics, and of most Near Eastern peoples; orbits of moderate height, and with a tendency to external folding in maturity and old age, go with long-headed peoples of both blond and brunet varieties, while a median fold, indicative of both a low orbit and a thick fat deposit in the eye region, goes rather with the Finnic and Slavic blond mesocephals and brachycephals. The true internal or mongoloid fold is not common in Europe and is found in numbers only in the east, in the Kalmuck and Tatar districts of Russia, and in the far north.
Extreme cragginess and ruggedness of facial features, including the forehead, the superciliary region, the malars, the jaws, and the nose, are associated with the western marginal fringe area, and especially with the region of largest heads and maximum Palaeolithic survival. Nordics and Mediterraneans, whether in Europe, North Africa, or southwestern Asia. have a maximum of facial relief, without this appearance of bony massiveness. The malars are laterally compressed, the nose thin and often beaked. Facial flatness, intensified by fatty deposits over the malars, while more typical of mongoloids, becomes characteristic in eastern Europe and extends into Poland, Finland, and Hungary.
The maximum nasality of the Near Eastern peoples, of whatever head form, is accompanied by a number of related features. One of these is the concurrency of the eyebrows over the nose, which is geographically centered in the Near East. Another is the predominant convexity of the nose as a whole, and the depression of the tip, especially in old age. In man the nose passes through a definite and continuous cycle of growth changes comparable in form, if not in degree nor in exact anatomical detail, to those found in the proboscis monkey. The nearest approach to the proboscis in the extent of nasal change is, however, found among Near Easterners from Armenia to Afghanistan. In Europe the same is true to a lesser degree in Albania and Montenegro.
A map showing the form of the nasal profile would have centers of convexity in the Dinaric area and throughout western Asia, with the exception of Arabia; centers of concavity would lie in the north of Scandinavia, and across the whole of eastern Europe from the Baltic onward. The rest of the map would be relatively undifferentiated, with all forms present, but the straight profile most common.
22 The only valid exceptions seem to be the Ruwalla Bedawin and the Tuareg. See Chapter XI, sections 2 and 12.
23 Melanin is approximately 55 per cent carbon, 6 per cent hydrogen, 12 per cent nitrogen, 2 per cent sulphur, and 25 per cent oxygen. Young, W. J., BJ, vol. 15, 1921, pp. 118 seq.
24 Glodt, H. R., Melanogenesis, a thesis submitted for honors in Anthropology at Harvard University, April, 1937. MS. in Peabody Museum Library, Harvard University. Quotation from p. 71. Author's permission secured. This whole section is taken largely from Glodt.
25 Cunningham, I. J., BJ, vol. 25, 1931, pp. 1267 seq.
26 Conitzer, H., ZFMA, vol. 29, 1931, pp. 83-147.
27 Conitzer, H., op. cit.
28 Conitzer, H., op. cit.
29 Bryn, H., Homo Caesius, p. 19.
30 Baur, E., Fischer, E., and Lenz, E., Human Heredity, p. 134.
31 Wilmer, W. H., Atlas Fundus Oculi.