greater zygomatic muscle

Mongoloid race

The term "Mongoloid" is a variation of the word "Mongol", meaning "Mongol-like". It has been coined as a racial category to describe the distinctive appearance of East Asian peoples. Today it is most used in discussions of human prehistory, historical definitions of race and in the forensic analysis of human remains. The concept's existence is based on a now disputed typological method of racial classification. In forensics, Mongoloid is considered a skull type that is used to determine the probable soft-tissue reconstruction of discovered human remains. The -oid racial terms are now often controversial in both technical and non-technical contexts and may sometimes give offense no matter how they are used. This is especially true of "Mongoloid" because it has also been used as a synonym for persons with Down Syndrome, and in American English as a generic insult meaning "idiot". Contrary to popular beliefs, Mongoloid refers to diverse ethnical groups, instead of a homogeneous group.

Populations included

The term comes from the Mongolian people of East Asia, who had a reputation in Europe for ruthless expansionism and massacre of enemy populations. The first usage of the term "Mongolian race" was by Christoph Meiners in a "binary racial scheme" of "two races" with the Caucasian whose racial purity was exemplified by the "venerated... ancient Germans" with some Europeans being impure "dirty whites" and "Mongolians" who consisted of everyone else. The term "Mongolian" was borrowed from Meiners by Johann Blumenbach to describe "second [race], [which] includes that part of Asia beyond the Ganges and below the river Amoor [Amur], which looks toward the south, together with the islands and the greater part of these countries which is now called Australian." In 1861, Isid Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire added the "Australian" as a "secondary race" (subrace) of the "principal race" of "Mongolian" In the nineteenth century Georges Cuvier used the term "Mongolian" again as a racial classification, but additionally included American Indians under the term. Later, Thomas Huxley used the term "Mongoloid" and included American Indians as well as Arctic Native Americans. Other nomenclatures were proposed, such as "Mesochroi" (middle color), but "Mongoloid" was widely adopted. In 1915, "anthropologist Arthur de Gobineau" defined the extent of the "Mongolian" race, "by the yellow the Altaic, Mongol, Finnish and Tartar branches." In the 20th century, Carleton S. Coon used the term and included Pacific Islanders. In 1983, Futuyma claimed that the inclusion of Native Americans and Pacific Islanders under the Mongoloid race was not recognized by "many anthropologists" who consider them "distinct races". For example, in 1984, Roger J. Lederer Professor of Biological Sciences separately listed the "Mongoloid" race from Pacific islanders and American Indians when he enumerated the "geographical variants of the same species known as races... we recognize several races Eskimos, American Indians, Mongoloid... Polynesian.

Native Americans

"Native Americans are clearly derived from an Asian population with affinities to the Mongoloids. However, Native Americans retain certain non-Mongoloid features. These might represent the genetic legacy of a pre-Mongoloid, Australoid-Caucasoid population, swamped by a later Mongoloid immigration; more likely, they reflect the broad range of physical variation found in early northern Asian populations, before Mongoloid traits became predominant." "When we compare Native Americans with the other living races of mankind, we find them to be most similar to the Mongoloid peoples of Asia. Among the visible physical characteristics that these groups share are coarse straight black hair, relatively hairless faces and bodies, light brown skin, brown eyes, epicanthic folds (only occasionally present in American populations), high cheekbones, and a high frequency of shovel-shaped incisor teeth ... The distribution of patterns of invisible genetically determined traits offer less clear-cut evidence of relationship."


John Macmillan Brown identified an "Ancient Mongoloid Empire in Mesopotamia ...the busts of these Akkadians that have been unearthed show not only the flattened face and high cheek-bones that mark the Mongol, but, long before the Semites from the south mingled with them, the wavy hair and often full eyes of the Caucasian."


In 1865, Thomas Huxley presented the views of polygenesists of which Huxley was not as "some imagine their assumed species of mankind were created where we find them... the Mongolians from the Orangs."

In 1897, WEB DuBois, sociologist and historian, said, "[t]he final word of science, so far, is that we have at least two perhaps three, great families of human beings -- the whites and Negroes, possibly the yellow race [he calls this "Mongolian" later]. The other races have arisen from the intermingling of the blood of these two." Later, there was a "change in his anthropological view", where he postulated "Negroids and Mongoloids are primary, with Caucasoids listed as a type between these, possibly formed by their union, with bleached skin and intermediate hair."

In 1972, Carleton Coon claimed, "[f]rom a hyborean [sic] group there evolved, in northern Asia, the ancestral strain of the entire specialized mongoloid family. In 1962, Coon believed that the Mongoloid "subspecies" existed "during most of the Pleistocene, from 500,000 to 10,000 years ago". According to Coon, the Mongoloid race had not completed its "invasions and expansions" into Southeast Asia, the Americas, and the Pacific Islands until "[t]oward the end of the Pleistocene" By this time Coon hypothesis that the Mongoloid race had become "sapien". Milford Wolpoff and Rachel Caspari characterize "his [Carleton Coon's] contention [as being] that the Mongoloid race crossed the "sapiens threshold" first and thereby evolved the furthest".

M.K Bhasin's review article (referencing Mourant 1983) suggests that "The Caucasoids and the Mongoloids almost certainly became differentiated from one another somewhere in Asia" and that "Another differentiation, which probably took place in Asia, is that of the Australoids, perhaps from a common type before the separation of the Mongoloids."

Dr. T. Tirado claims that "many experts" consider American Indians and East Asians to be descended from a "Proto-Mongoloid" population which existed as late as 12,000 years ago. See also: Models of migration to the New World

Futuyma believes the Mongoloid race "diverged 41,000 years ago" from a Mongoloid and Caucasoid group which diverged from Negroids "110,000 years ago".

Peter Brown (1999) evaluates three sites with early East Asian modern human skeletal remains (Liujiang, Liuzhou, Guangxi, China; Zhoukoudian's Upper Cave; and Minatogawa in Okinawa) dated to between 10,175 to 33,200 years ago, and finds lack of support for the conventional designation of skeletons from this period as "Proto-Mongoloid"; this would make Neolithic sites 5500 to 7000 years ago (e.g. Banpo) the oldest known Mongoloid remains in East Asia, younger than some in the Americas. He concludes that the origin of the Mongoloid phenotype remains unknown, and could even lie in the New World.

A 2006 study of linkage disequilibrium finds that northern populations in East Asia started to expand in number between 34 and 22 thousand years ago (KYA), before the last glacial maximum at 21–18 KYA, while southern populations started to expand between 18 and 12 KYA, but then grew faster, and suggests that the northern populations expanded earlier because they could exploit the abundant megafauna of the ‘‘Mammoth Steppe,’’ while the southern populations could increase in number only when a warmer and more stable climate led to more plentiful plant resources such as tubers.


Bhavan identifies Northeast India Mongoloids to be a subrace called the "Paleo-Mongoloid", being the "dominant element in the tribes living in Assam and the Indo-Burmese frontiers... Sikkim and Bhutan... [and] Tibetan mongoloids"

In 1900, Joseph Deniker said, the "Mongol race admits two varieties or subraces: Tunguse or Northern Mongolian... and Southern Mongolian" The people of East Asia are called "Northern Mongoloids". Archaeologist Peter Bellwood claims that the "vast majority" of people in Southeast Asia, the region he calls the "clinal Mongoloid-Australoid zone", are "Southern Mongoloids" but have a "high degree" of Australoid admixture. Ainus are considered Southern Mongoloids even though they live in East Asia. Sinodonty and Sundadonty are dentition patterns that correspond to the Northern Mongoloid vs. Southern Mongoloid distinction.


Forensic anthropologist Caroline Wilkenson says Mongoloids feature "absent browridges". Skulls belonging to Asians and American Indians exhibit very forward-projecting malar bones and comparatively flat faces, more circular orbits than other groups, and a moderate nasal aperture with a slightly pointed lower margin. Moreover, Mongoloid skulls are the most gracile in the human family. It is believed that the Mongoloid skull type is a very recent evolutionary development. "The Mongoloid skull has proceeded further than in any other people." "The Mongoloid skull, whether Chinese or Japanese, has been rather more neotenized than the Caucasoid or European." "The female skull, it will be noted, is more pedomorphic in all human populations than the male skull." "Mongoloid races are explained in terms of being the most extreme paedomorphic humans. "The intuition that advanced human development was paedomorphic rather than recapitulationary and accelerated was disturbing to many Eurocentric nineteenth century anthropologists." "If juvenilization was the characteristic for advanced status, then it was clear that the Mongoloid races were more deeply fetalized in most respects and thus capable of the greatest development." "[R]elatively large-headed [is the] mongoloid". "An interesting hypothesis put forward by paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould many years ago was that the package of the Mongoloid anatomical changes could be explained by the phenomenon of neoteny, whereby an infantile or childlike body form is preserved in adult life. Neoteny in hominids is still one of the simplest explanations of how we developed a disproportionately large brain so rapidly over the past few million years. The relatively large brain and the forward rotation of the skull on the spinal column, and body hair loss, both characteristic of humans, are found in foetal chimps. Gould suggested a mild intensification of neoteny in Mongoloids, in whom it has been given the name paedomorphy. Such a mechanism is likely to involve only a few controller genes and could therefore happen over a relatively short evolutionary period. It would also explain how the counterintuitive retrousse [turned up at the end] nose and relative loss of facial hair got into the package." "[D]ecrease unnecessary muscle bulk, less tooth mass, thinner bones and smaller physical size;" this follows the selective adaptive model of Mongoloid evolution."" In Ashley Montagu's list of "[n]eotenous structural traits in which Mongoloids... differ from Caucasoids", Montagu lists "Larger brain, larger braincase, broader skull, broader face, flat roof of the nose, inner eye fold, more protuberant eyes, lack of brow ridges, greater delicacy of bones, shallow mandibular fossa, small mastoid processes, stocky build, persistence of thymus gland into adult life, persistence of juvenile form of zygomatic muscle, persistence of juvenile form of superior lip muscle, later eruption of full dentition (except second and third molars), less hairy, fewer sweat glands, fewer hairs per square centimeter [and] long torso" "Mongoloid subjects were found to have approximately 20% higher bone density at the angle of mandible than Caucasoid subjects.

Proto Mongoloids

The physical features of the "Proto-Mongoloid" were characterized as, "a straight-haired type, medium in complexion, jaw protrusion, nose-breadth, and inclining probably to round-headedness". Kanzō Umehara considers the Ainu and Ryukyuans to have "preserved their proto-Mongoloid traits".

Variation in traits between groups

Variation in traits can be rather considerable between certain groups due to climatic variation, the most apparent of these differences concern the shape of the skull, the constitution of the body and the colour of the skin.


Questionable usefulness

Geneticist Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza claims that there is a genetic division between East and Southeast Asians. In a like manner, Zhou Jixu agrees that there is a physical difference between these two populations. Other geneticists have found evidence for three separate populations, carrying distinct sets of non-recombining Y chromosome lineages, within the traditional Mongoloid category: North Asians, Han Chinese/Southeast Asians, and Japanese. The complexity of genetic data have led to doubt about the usefulness of the concept of a Mongoloid race itself, since distinctive East Asian features may represent separate lineages and arise from environmental adaptations or retention of common proto-Eurasian ancestral characteristics. Many scholars claim Austronesians are admixtures of Australoids (a group which includes Veddoids, Australians, Negritos, and Papuans) with Mongoloids.

Down's Syndrome

Since people with Down syndrome may have epicanthic folds, the condition was widely called "Mongol" or "Mongoloid Idiocy John Langdon Down, for whom the syndrome was named, claimed in his book Observations on the Ethnic Classification of Idiots (1866), that the Mongol-like features represented an evolutionary degeneration when manifested in Caucasoids. The use of the term "Mongoloid" for racial purposes has therefore acquired negative connotations because of the connection with Down syndrome.

See also


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