Skin colour distributions

  • Thread starter snorkack
  • Start date
  • #1
1,469
156

Main Question or Discussion Point

I see 2 commonly quoted maps for distribution of native human skin colour.
Both are old; they have a lot of odd divergences - as well as many matching features, some of which are hard to explain.
One is Biasutti, 1940:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/81/Map_of_skin_hue_equi.png
Another is Gerland, 1896:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human...780_Global_map_of_skin_color_distribution.jpg

Which of these is reliable? Is there any newer map considered more trustworthy?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
SteamKing
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
12,798
1,666
I see 2 commonly quoted maps for distribution of native human skin colour.
Both are old; they have a lot of odd divergences - as well as many matching features, some of which are hard to explain.
One is Biasutti, 1940:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/81/Map_of_skin_hue_equi.png
Another is Gerland, 1896:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human...780_Global_map_of_skin_color_distribution.jpg

Which of these is reliable? Is there any newer map considered more trustworthy?
With populations which are now highly mobile due to a number of factors, it's a bit dated, IMO, to assign some arbitrary geographical distribution of native human skin color, whatever is meant by that.

How has the world changed between 1896, 1940, and 2016? Any significant historical or political events which might have shaken up the "snow globe" over that period of time?
 
  • #3
1,469
156
With populations which are now highly mobile due to a number of factors, it's a bit dated, IMO, to assign some arbitrary geographical distribution of native human skin color, whatever is meant by that.

How has the world changed between 1896, 1940, and 2016?
Both the 1896 and 1940 maps expressly aimed to show the native skin colour distribution. They were very much aware of migrations of people since 1492, and deliberately aimed to show the pre-1492 distribution.
With some conspicuous differences in results.
So which is the correct map?
 
  • #4
SteamKing
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
12,798
1,666
Both the 1896 and 1940 maps expressly aimed to show the native skin colour distribution. They were very much aware of migrations of people since 1492, and deliberately aimed to show the pre-1492 distribution.
With some conspicuous differences in results.
So which is the correct map?
That's asking a lot. Much of the globe was unexplored in 1492, and certainly the study of population demographics lay far down the scientific road.
 
  • #5
1,469
156
Sure. But 1896 and 1940 were studies of population demographics. Seeking to get data about native people.
 
  • #6
jim mcnamara
Mentor
3,871
2,254
Clarification - So to that end, please tell us what are you trying to do, not how you think it should be done.
Here is why:
North America, for example, has been completely undone from 'nativity' (if there is such a thing) by the introduction of Western diseases and technology starting in the 1500's. And subsequent immigration. See J. Diamond 'Guns Germs, and Steel' The same is true in Australia, starting from the 1800's. Brazil, ditto. This list is long. So determining who is 'native' is not based on genetics but stories and fuzzy verbal histories and so on. This is why the approach used to approximate relative DNA for early humans(i.e., neanderthal, Denisovan, and modern humans) is considered most likely to reflect what happened.

So getting a reasonable static picture of native human traits is a huge challenge. IMO. The really good data comes from living people and DNA. Somewhat like the services Ancestry.com and its cousins provide.
 
  • Like
Likes Pepper Mint
  • #7
1,469
156
One feature about which the two maps agree is that they show a wide range of native skin colours in Americas.
The patterns, however, are quite strikingly different.
Is the wide variability of native skin colour across Americas a real feature?
 
  • #8
Evo
Mentor
23,134
2,660
Is the wide variability of native skin colour across Americas a real feature?
What native skin color? Are you speaking of native Americans prior to the take over by Europeans? And why?
 
  • Like
Likes Fervent Freyja
  • #9
1,469
156
Are you speaking of native Americans prior to the take over by Europeans?
Yes.
It contrasts with another feature both the maps agree on: uniform skin colour throughout Australia.
 
  • #10
39
3
I see 2 commonly quoted maps for distribution of native human skin colour.
Both are old; they have a lot of odd divergences - as well as many matching features, some of which are hard to explain.
One is Biasutti, 1940:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/81/Map_of_skin_hue_equi.png
Another is Gerland, 1896:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human...780_Global_map_of_skin_color_distribution.jpg

Which of these is reliable? Is there any newer map considered more trustworthy?
I doubt that you will be able to find a modern world map of skin colour distribution.
 

Related Threads on Skin colour distributions

  • Last Post
Replies
7
Views
5K
  • Last Post
Replies
7
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
13K
  • Last Post
Replies
8
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
9
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
6K
Top