News | Published:

Anthropology and Administration

    Naturevolume 115pages666667 (1925) | Download Citation



    IN the hundred years that have elapsed since the birth of Huxley, anthropology has made greater strides than perhaps any other branch of science with which he was concerned. The measure of his contribution to that advance cannot be gauged only by the results of his purely anthropological work. It is to be judged as much by the spirit and the outlook with which he approached the scientific problems of his day. It is scarcely an exaggeration to say that in Huxley's earlier years the study of primitive peoples was little more than a collection of facts, while any attempt at generalisation was usually subservient to some preconceived theory. The application of the Darwinian hypothesis to the study of man as a social and moral being, as well as a physical entity, by Huxley and his fellow-workers, diverted that study from the static to the dynamic point of view. This change of outlook, which involved the fundamental conception of the essential unity of the human race and of human culture, laid the foundation of anthropological studies as a science in aim and in method. Looking back on the work of the latter half of the last century, it is easy to criticise the facile generalisations which arose from an unwarranted extension of a purely biological hypothesis; but it opened the way to the conception of continuity in development and the phylogenetic study of anthropological data—a fruitful source of advancement in the study of man and his works.

    About this article

    Publication history

    Issue Date



    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

    Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing