Volume 31 1922 > Volume 31, No. 123 > Maori somatology. Racial averages. Part II, by Te Rangi Hiroa (P.H. Buck) p 145-153
SITTING HEIGHT.—The average sitting height for 420 cases was 36·2 inches, and the range of distribution from 33 to 39 in.
Average 36·2 in., or 920 mm.
SITTING HEIGHT INDEX.—The sitting height index is obtained from the formula, Sitting height X 100/Standing height. As this index gives the height of the body in relation to a standing height of 100, the relative proportion of the body and the lower limbs are readily seen from the index. From superficial observation, it has often been stated that Maoris have longer bodies and shorter legs than their Anglo-Saxon countrymen. This is borne out by the average index of 53·8, which makes the relative leg length 46·2. Sullivan 1 gives the sitting height index for 536 Sioux Indians as 51·4, and 77 half-breeds as 51·6.- 146
It will be observed from the above table that in one case out of 420 the lower limbs were longer than the body.
MAXIMUM HEAD LENGTH.—The average head length of 196·5mm. compares with that of Scottish University Students 2 196·2, and University College staff2 196·3. It is shorter than that of Oxford University students, 2 197·8. The 34 New Zealand white soldiers were shorter with 194·3. When, however, we compare the Maoris with those two branches of the Polynesians recently investigated by the Bayard Dominick expedition, we find a considerable difference. Sullivan gives the average for the Samoans 3 as 190·6 and the Tongans 4 as 191. From the investigations of Messrs. Gifford and McKern on Tongan methods of artificially shaping the heads, Sullivan is unable to see how they could have appreciably altered the shape of the skull. This makes the difference of 5·9mm. between the Maori and Samoan head length and 5·5mm. with the Tongan all the more marked. I have been unable to gain authentic information as to the existence of artificial shaping of the head in New Zealand, and it has not been observed by Scott in his paper on Maori crania. There were, however, methods of moulding parts of the face in infants, which will be alluded to later. The range of maximum length was from 178 to 213 mm. For the Samoans, Sullivan gives the range for males as 174 to 203 mm., and for the Tongans, 173 to 213 mm. The Tongans thus have a wider range than the Maoris.- 147
Average 196·5.- 148
MAXIMUM HEAD BREADTH.—The average maximum head breadth for 421 cases is 152·8 mm. It is thus narrower than the Anglo-Saxon series already quoted as University College staff, 153·5, Scottish University students, 154·6, and Oxford University students, 154·2. The New Zealand white soldiers were 152·4. Sullivan gives the Samoans and Tongans both as 154·8, making the Maori head exactly 2 mm. narrower.
The range of distribution is from 138 mm. to 167. Sullivan's series gives the Samoan males as 143 mm. to 166, and the Tongans 145 to 167.
Average 152·8 mm.- 149
CEPHALIC INDEX.—The cephalic index is obtained from the formula, Maximum Head Breadth x 100/Maximum Head length. The average cephalic index for 421 Maori subjects is 77·7, and places them in the mesaticephalic group. This confirms Professor Scott's 5 averages of 75·4 for 50 male skulls. Adding Broca's two units for the difference between the skull and the living head, we have Scott's average raised to 77·4, a difference of only ·3 with this series. Turner's series of 72 skulls gave a lower average of 74, and Denniker quotes 51 skulls at 73·6. The Anglo-Saxon groups already quoted in head length and head breadth are also mesaticephalic as follows:—
Oxford students, 78; University College staff, 78·2; Scottish students, 78·8, and Cambridge students, 79·5. The New Zealand white soldiers were 78·4. Other branches of the Polynesians, from the skull measurements that have been made in the past, have been returned as remarkably broad-headed. Some of the figures quoted by Denniker show such inconsistencies between the measurements of living subjects and of skulls that one suspects differences of methods of measuring. This makes one feel inclined to put them aside and await the more up-to-date and uniform work of the Bayard Dominick expedition to various parts of Polynesia. It has already been pointed out that the Maori head is longer and narrower than the Samoan and Tongan heads. This results in the two latter having a higher cephalic index and being included in the brachycephalic group. Sullivan gives the Samoan index as 81·3 and the Tongan as 81·1 In seven Tongan crania collected by Gifford and McKern,4 there was occipital flattening due to artificial deformation. This resulted in an average cranial index for the seven skulls of 86·8. One of them was 93·7. In an authentic Niue Island skull of a well-known patu or elder, that I collected whilst on the island, occipital flattening was so marked as to give the following measurements: Maximum cranial length 166 mm., maximum breadth 160 and cephalic index, 96·3. Scott gave the index for 30 male skulls of Morioris from the Chatham Islands as 76·3. The range of cephalic index for my Maori series was from 70 to 85.
Scott held that the skulls examined showed without doubt that the Maori was a mingling of a Polynesian and a Melanesian strain. He does not specify what the Melanesian characteristics in the Maori skull were, but one must presume that he accepted the Polynesian skull as brachycephalic, and the Melanesian as dolichocephalic. Denniker 6 quotes the average Melanesian skull after Flower and Topinard, as 71·4. There is urgent need for more anthropometric work amongst the Melanesian peoples who border on the Polynesians, in order that the long-headedness attributed to them, from skull measurements in the past, may be verified or corrected. The few Fijians that I have been able to measure in Auckland showed a slightly higher cephalic index than the Maoris. Scott seems to imply that long-headedness amongst the Maoris is due to Melanesian intermixture. In his series of 50 male skulls, he points out that the average for the 25 North Island skulls was dolichocephalic, and amongst them there was not one brachycephalic. For his entire series there were only four per cent. brachycephalic, and these were from the South Island. In order to compare my series of living subjects with Scott's figures, I have reduced them by Broca's two units, thus obtaining 40 out of 421 subjects, or 9·5 per cent. as brachycephalic. Of the 421 subjects, three were from the South Island, and of these one was brachycephalic. The high degree of dolichocephalism found by Scott from his own material, and that measured by Flower and Turner, is not borne out by my results for 105 living subjects from the same district, viz., the North Auckland Peninsula. Maoris are very particular about safeguarding the bones of their own tribal dead, but are not so particular about those of other - 151 tribes whom they have conquered. The latter is more likely to furnish the material obtained by scientific collectors. The crania thus measured by Scott, Flower and Turner from the North Auckland district need not be those of the tribes which now inhabit that region, but is more likely to belong to the tribes conquered and displaced by the present occupiers. However, the question of intertribal differences will have to be dealt with later.
When the living subjects in this series are compared with the Samoan and Tongan tables given by Sullivan, the difference of distribution in the dolicho, mesati, brachycephalic groups is very marked. In the Maoris, the majority is, of course, in the mesatice-phalic group, whilst there is a higher percentage of brachycephalics than dolichocephalics. With the Samoans and Tongans, the majority are brachycephalic, whilst the percentage in the dolichocephalic group is very low. I have availed myself of Sullivan's Samoan and Tongan material in the table below.
VERTICAL RADIUS.—The vertical radius gives the auricular height of the cranium. This is taken from the mid-points of the ear-holes to the highest point of the cranium measured in a vertical plane when the eyes are directed to the horizon. These measurements were made with a Karl Pearson head-spanner. The average vertical radius for 417 subjects was 136·3 mm. The range of distribution was from 124 to 148 mm.
VERTICAL INDEX.—The vertical index gives the relation of the vertical radius to the maximum head length, and is obtained from the formula, Vertical Radius X 100/Maximum Head Length. The average for 415 subjects was 69·3, and the range of distribution from 60 to 76.
1 L. R. Sullivan. 1920. “The Anthropometry of the Siouan Tribes.” American Museum of Natural History.
2 Chas. Goring. 1915. “The English Convict.”
3 L. R. Sullivan. 1921. “A Contribution to Samoan Somatology.” Memoirs of the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum.
4 L. R. Sullivan. 1922. “A Contribution to Tongan Somatology.” Memoirs of the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum.
5 J. H. Scott. 1893. “Contribution to the Osteology of the Aborigines of New Zealand and the Chatham Islands.” Trans. N.Z. Inst., Vol. XXVI.
6 J. Denniker. 1900. “The Races of Man.”