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Nature volume 127, pages 463465 (21 March 1931) | Download Citation



The Society Islanders.—A study of the physical characters of the Society Islanders by H. L. Shapiro, and based upon material collected in the field on the Bayard Dominick Expedition by S. Craighill Handy and Willowdean C. Handy, is published in vol. 11, No. 4, of the Memoirs of the Bernice P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu. Eighteen characters were examined and fifteen indices calculated on two hundred and two individuals. The measurements of 153 only are included here, as 49 were excluded on the ground of non-Polynesian admixture. From a study of the distribution of these characters, which show bi-modal and multi-modal curves common to both sexes, it is concluded that there is heterogeneity in the population. The impression of massiveness and size is borne out by the measurements. The stature of 171-35 cm. places them among the tallest people in the world. The head is of medium length and of more than medium width, giving an index markedly brachycephalic. Both face-height and width are large, producing a massive face. The forehead, however, is narrow, giving the distinctive character associated with the Polynesian. The nasal index is mesorhine; but the average dimensions are considerable, though they do not equal the average of the Samoans and Tongans. In bodily proportions and size the Society Islanders are relatively large. In general, the women display the same development as the men. Most of the Islanders have black hair. There are no blondes; but 13-14 per cent of the men and 15-15 per cent of the women have reddy-brown hair.

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