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jimmydasaint
Post  Post subject: Skull Shapes and Race  |  Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:18 am
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This could be controversial, but it is not my aim. Looking at skull shapes around the world, are there significant physiological differences that would characterise certain racial groups?
I am struggling to find data on this topic, and what I have found seems to be white extremist trash. This one is one of the most coherent:

Quote:
Firstly, the mostly obvious difference is that the Caucasoid top skull has a very flat profile, while the bottom skull is ‘prognathic’, meaning it’s jaws protrude out. Although not obvious from this image, the nose aperture of the Caucasian skull has a narrower triangle shape; with a longer, thinner bony protrusion at the point where the nose comes out from between the eyes (nuchal ridge). Caucasian skulls also posess a nasil sill (unless you see this shown, no explanation will make sense), Asian and African skulls don’t.


Image

Image

http://mathildasanthropologyblog.wordpress.com/2008/07/23/racial-differences-in-skull-shape/

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Last edited by jimmydasaint on Thu Feb 16, 2012 8:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Skull Shapes and Race  |  Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 2:19 am
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How are you defining race? That would be my first question.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_%28cl ... _humans%29

Quote:
Racial groupings may correspond with patterns of social stratification, helping social scientists to understand the underlying disparities among racially defined groups of people.[4] Additionally, law enforcement utilizes race to create profiles of wanted suspects in an expeditious manner.

While scientists use the concept of race to make practical distinctions among fuzzy sets of traits, the scientific community feels that the idea of race is often used by the general public[5] in a naïve[6] or simplistic way, erroneously designating wholly discrete types of individuals. Among humans, race has no cladistic significance—all people belong to the same hominid subspecies, Homo sapiens sapiens.[7][8] Regardless of the extent to which race exists, the word "race" is problematic and may carry negative connotations.[9] Social conceptions and groupings of races vary over time, involving folk taxonomies[10][11][12] that define essential types of individuals based on perceived sets of traits. Scientists consider biological essentialism obsolete,[13] and generally discourage racial explanations for collective differentiation in both physical and behavioral traits.[6][14]

As people define and disseminate different conceptions of race, they actively create contrasting social realities through which racial categorization is achieved in varied ways.[15] In this sense, races are said to be social constructs.[16][17] These constructs can develop within various legal,[15][18] economic,[18] and sociopolitical[19][20] contexts, and at times may be the effect, rather than the cause, of major social situations.[19]

<...>

In biology the term "race" is used with caution because it can be ambiguous, "'Race' is not being defined or used consistently; its referents are varied and shift depending on context. The term is often used colloquially to refer to a range of human groupings. Religious, cultural, social, national, ethnic, linguistic, genetic, geographical and anatomical groups have been and sometimes still are called 'races'".[7] Generally when it is used it is synonymous with subspecies.[41] One main obstacle to identifying subspecies is that, while it is a recognised taxonomic term, it has no precise definition.[42]

<...>

Most modern anthropologists and biologists came to view race as an invalid genetic or biological designation.[53]

The first to challenge the concept of race on empirical grounds were anthropologists Franz Boas, who demonstrated phenotypic plasticity due to environmental factors,[54] and Ashley Montagu who relied on evidence from genetics.[55] E. O. Wilson then challenged the concept from the perspective of general animal systematics, and further rejected the claim that "races" were equivalent to "subspecies".[56]

<...>

One result of debates over the meaning and validity of the concept of race is that the current literature across different disciplines regarding human variation lacks consensus, though within some fields, such as biology, there is strong consensus.



As for trends, I'd say no... IMO, it's specific to sexual selection in the region and what females find attractive, not the melanin content or ethnicity of the group.

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KALSTER
Post  Post subject: Re: Skull Shapes and Race  |  Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 7:05 am
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I have to say, those images look quite exaggerated.

I am pretty sure there are some common traits among some racial groups that would make them easier to identify as such. There is nothing racist about that. As far as I know for instance, mongoloid skulls have flatter faces and wider cheek bones on average.

Race in this context merely means those of common decent up to a general time into the past, after we left Africa. Mixing makes this an inexact method, but trends do exist, which is evident just by looking at the variety out there. All non-Africans have Neanderthal and some Denisovian DNA mixed in as well after all and had been subject to sexual and environmental pressures in isolation for some time.

If you don't want to call it race, call it something else, by all means. The fact remains, different groupings have common traits on average.

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jimmydasaint
Post  Post subject: Re: Skull Shapes and Race  |  Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 8:45 pm
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iNow- I had to think a few times before posting. However, there are common features amongst people who live in geographically distinct locations. I just had to step carefully to avoid articles from racist scum and I could not find much about this topic. It fascinated me that characteristics of physiognomy become homogeneous amongst populations separated from others. For example, I can think of Australian aborigines and some tribes in the Amazon who were separated from other peoples for thousands of years. The example I showed seems exaggerated but I cannot find much more on the web. I think that we all bear a commonality as members of the species, of course. However, political correctness should not avoid an impartial study of a formerly taboo subject. Melanin content is never an issue, or an excuse for an issue.
Peace

This was my original aim:

Quote:
After that, the "out of Africa" theory – or as I prefer to call it "the recent African origin" model for our origins – really took off. My version depicted the following background. The ancient species Homo erectus survived in East Asia and Indonesia but evolved into Homo heidelbergensis in Europe and Africa. (This last species had been named from a 600,000-year-old jawbone found in Germany in 1907.) Then, about 400,000 years ago, H. heidelbergensis underwent an evolutionary split: north of the Mediterranean it developed into the Neanderthals, while to the south, in Africa, it became us, modern humans. Finally, about 60,000 years ago Homo sapiens began to leave Africa and by 40,000 years ago, with the advantages of more complex tools and behaviours, spread into Asia and Europe, where we replaced the Neanderthals and all the other archaic people outside of Africa. In other words, under our skins, we are all Africans.

Not every scientist agreed, however. One group continued to support the idea of multiregional evolution, an updated version of ideas from the 1930s. It envisaged deep parallel lines of evolution in each inhabited region of Africa, Europe, Asia and Australasia, stretching from local variants of H. erectus right through to living people in the same areas today. These lines did not diverge through time, since they were glued together by interbreeding across the ancient world, so modern features could gradually evolve, spread and accumulate, alongside long-term regional differences in things like the shape of the face and the size of the nose.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/jun/19/human-evolution-africa-ancestors-stringer

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KALSTER
Post  Post subject: Re: Skull Shapes and Race  |  Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:56 am
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Quote:
I think that we all bear a commonality as members of the species, of course. However, political correctness should not avoid an impartial study of a formerly taboo subject. Melanin content is never an issue, or an excuse for an issue.
Well said indeed.

If there were no general commonalities that were evident in a significant fraction of those with similar ancestry, the field of forensic anthropology would not be a very effective discipline as far as that characteristic goes.

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Prometheus
Post  Post subject: Re: Skull Shapes and Race  |  Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 2:25 pm
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jimmydasaint wrote:
However, political correctness should not avoid an impartial study of a formerly taboo subject.


Agreed.

I also agree race needs to be defined before a discussion can be had.

KALSTER wrote:
The fact remains, different groupings have common traits on average.


While this may be true, it does not necessarily mean race exists. Let us take different groupings; a basketball team and a chess club. Measuring enough traits i am confident we can find traits the basketball members all share and are on average statistically significantly different from the chess club members. Are the two groups therefore of a different race? I realise that is probably not what you were claiming, i just use it to highlight a point.

However, had the two groups differed in another way also - skin colour - then we may be more inclined to say yes, the difference is racial. But then we presume the fact which we are trying to prove. The impressive stature (say) of the basketball players would therefore seem to be correlated to their skin colour. But even if that correlation is strong, so what. There are a plethora of traits we could try to match their stature against - number of teeth, blood groups, allergies... but we picked the correlation to skin colour to be the most significant. We can pick this, but it's an arbitrary decision to do so.

KALSTER wrote:
If there were no general commonalities that were evident in a significant fraction of those with similar ancestry, the field of forensic anthropology would not be a very effective discipline as far as that characteristic goes.


I know very little of anthropology. Despite what i said above though, i can see why the commonalities can be useful - if you have a very specific purpose in mind - such as attempting to track geographical or ancestral origin. Let me use an example from a field i'm more familiar with: medicine.

It has been noted people of certain race respond better to people of other races to certain medicines. On this basis, certain drugs have been licensed for use only for those of a certain race. This can be useful; lacking any other information, we can get an idea of someone is likely to respond to a medicine. However, with genetic profiling we can identify exactly who will and will not respond to the medicine - most may be of one race, some will be of the hitherto disregarded race. The concept of race, once useful in this particular context, has been replaced with a direct measure of what we really wanted to know: the expression of a particular gene. The racial classification has therefore become arbitrary, in this particular context.


A good book i found on this subject is Kenan Malik's Strange Fruit; Why both sides are wrong in the race debate. The essay below gives an outline of the book.
http://www.kenanmalik.com/essays/catalyst_racial_science.html


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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Skull Shapes and Race  |  Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:11 pm
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not sure whether certain specific features are race or population related, but i'm sure the multiregional model sees geographical features go from H.erectus to presapiens to H.sapiens

how correct their inference is i'm no judge to tell, but there appear to be regional variants which may or may not coincide with the traditional racial groups of a century ago

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AdamC86
Post  Post subject: Re: Skull Shapes and Race  |  Posted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 5:39 pm

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I graduated last year with a degree in sociology, but in my last semester, I took an anthropology class and I was hooked. Now, I'm looking into a master's in anthropology, and I love reading about this stuff! I've actually been reading up on recent research at http://obssr.od.nih.gov/index.aspx, and I'm really excited about starting my classes.
After I graduated, I created a site (http://socialsciencedegree.net) to help prospective students find the right social science program for them. I've found in my journey to find a master's program that this process can be difficult, so I hope it can help others make their journey a bit easier. Thanks for the post, and keep them coming if you can! :D


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jimmydasaint
Post  Post subject: Re: Skull Shapes and Race  |  Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:30 pm
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Welcome to this thread Adam. Good luck with your future academic direction. About the OP, what would you argue from what you have freshly learned?

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alfredalfred
Post  Post subject: Re: Skull Shapes and Race  |  Posted: Mon May 23, 2016 5:55 am

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I showed seems exaggerated but I cannot find much more on the web. I think that we all bear a commonality as members of the species, of course. However, political correctness should not avoid an impartial study of a formerly taboo subject. Melanin content is never an issue, or an excuse for an issue.
Peace????



waleeed

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