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Through the Great Arid Filter (Man's Drift to Europe)

Nature volume 141, page 1122 (25 June 1938) | Download Citation



MR. McINERNY here elaborates further and in some considerable detail his theory of the part played by the desert in the development of the more advanced races. It is a special adaptation of the more general theory of the influence of geographical environment in moulding man and his culture; but whereas it is most generally held that arable land is an essential condition of progress, the initial stages of cultivation being regarded as the first step towards the higher forms of civilization, the author on the contrary holds to ‘thermal aridity’ as the efficient cause. The stimulating effect of the solar energy and wide range of variation in temperature of the desert, it is maintained, has transformed non-progressive jungle man into the progressive white races of Europe. On this view, the long-headed races are a product of the desert belt extending from Africa to India, of which the Sahara is the most important section, and the broad- or round-heads emerge from the area of the Caspian. The ‘Brown Race’, cutting across this desert belt, represents an intermediate stage in the development. In the Far East the Chinese are regarded as the equivalent of the Egyptians, their further development having been arrested for reasons which are stated, while the Japanese represent the Europeans, the efficient cause here being the Gobi Desert.

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