Re: Australia and brains...

Rod Hagen (
4 Oct 1995 23:50:00 GMT

In article <44rotq$>, (Jim Foley) wrote:

> In article
> Ralph L Holloway <> wrote:
> >Jim Foley asked for some refs on the Australian Aboriginal brain weight.
> >The most recent reference I know of is: Klekamp et al, 1987. A
> >quantitative study of Australian Aboriginal and Caucasian brains. J.
> >Anatomy,150:191-210....
> > Harry Erwin's ap"apology" isn't really necessary as in fact, some of
> >the older Australian Aboriginal women do have low brain weights, but the
> >value of 750 ml is rare. I have seen it, however.
> Thanks for the reference. I assume that in old people the brain is
> smaller than in young adults, and that the smallest brains in any
> population will therefore belong to old women.
> I have read one source, by Stephen Molnar, "Races, Types and Human
> Variation", which states that there are "many" people in the 700-800
> range. "Many" is of course a vague term: if there were thousands of
> such people worldwide, it might be "many" in an absolute sense, but they
> would still be a vanishingly small percentage of the population.
> Molnar unfortunately provides no documentation of his claim. Most
> sources list the lower human range in the 800-900 area, but if Ralph
> says some are as low as 750 cc, then I accept that.
> Part of the problem is that defining a "normal" range depends on how
> many people you want to include. Should it be 99%, 99.99%, or 99.9999%?
> How far into the tail of the bell curve do people have to be before they
> are "out of the normal range"? Are people who are 3' and 8' feet tall
> still "normal"? What about a brain size of 800 cc?
> --
> Jim (Chris) Foley,
> Assoc. Prof. of Omphalic Envy Research interest:
> Department of Anthropology Primitive hominids
> University of Ediacara (Australopithecus creationistii)

People involved in this thread would be well advised to proceed with some
caution. Australian Aboriginal cranial capacities show a similar range of
sizes / body weight ratios to those of all other "modern" human beings.
Quoting outlying figures is dangerous in most disciplines, but
particularly so when issues of racial difference are involved.

Rod Hagen
Hurstbridge, Victoria, Australia