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CHAPTER XIII
STATISTICAL INVESTIGATIONS, ESPECIALLY WITH REGARD
TO ANTHROPOMETRY


"Until the phenomena of any branch of Knowledge have been submitted to measurement and number it cannot assume the status and dignity of a science." FRANCIS GALTON.


A. STATISTICS IN THE SERVICE OF ANTHROPOLOGY

THERE is no branch of knowledge to which Galton's remark applies more closely than anthropology ; and there is certainly no field of research which owes more to Galton than that of anthropometry and in particular that branch of it which deals with craniometry. Here again as we have so often had occasion to remark Galton's contribution was essentially one of method, and lay in his insistence that the only way to permanent and safe deductions was the path of measurement and number. The reader has only- to examine craniological papers of the 'sixties or 'seventies, even by such authorities of those days as Dr George Busk or Sir William Flower, to grasp how indefinite and inconclusive craniometry was before it became permeated with Galton's ideas of measurement and number. Half-a-dozen measurements on half-a-dozen skulls screened by a smoke-fog of vague remarks were considered an adequate basis for attack on the most elusive problems of racial differentiation. There was no conception of the number of individuals or of the number of characters which require to be measured before we. can reach definite conclusions. Anthropology was considered as a field to be left for a recreation ground almost entirely to men busy in other matters, for it had developed no academic discipline of its own, until Galton's methods gave it the status and dignity of a real science.

What troubled Galton, when travel and geography in the wider sense had led him to anthropology, was not only the lack of quantitative method but the lack also of ample material'. He at once set about supplying both in his own original way. Yet having reached some certainty himself, he proceeded, owing to the weakness of his brethren, in administering it only in homoeopathic doses. At the Brighton British Association of 1872, a recommendation was made by the General Committee, probably on Galton's suggestion, that brief forms of instruction should be prepared for travellers. Two years later the Notes and Queries on Anthropology, for the Use of Travellers and Residents in uncivilised Lands, drawn up by the Committee of the British Association (which included Lane Fox, Beddoe, Lubbock, Tylor, Galton and others), was issued. To the first edition of this handbook


Neither lack was fully recognised even to' Galton's death in many of the papers published by the representative English Anthropological Society; and I remember on more than one occasion his saying with a sigh : "Poor dear old Anthropological." All his efforts had produced little if any impression upon its members.